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Local Nonprofit’s Low-Cost, Disaster-Ready Water Filter Wins International Award

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By Paco Guajardo

The invention of a new modular water filter has garnered local NGO Caminos de Agua an Innovation Showcase Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) in Washington DC.

World Bank Climate Technology Program head Jean-Louis Racine presented the ASME award to the Caminos team. The award comes with a US$10,000 cash prize and free consulting services with Catapult Design—a firm that works with socially-driven organizations to build accessible, market-based products and services that give low income and underserved people reliable tools to improve their quality of life.

The ASME award also comes with an invitation to additional events to be held in New York City in October. There, Caminos will have a chance to compete for more funding and the opportunity to present Aguadapt to industry water experts who can help with large-scale production.

The water filter, which Caminos de Agua calls Aguadapt, will help low-income people worldwide who are disproportionately affected by rising levels of chemical contamination.

Caminos de Agua had previously already developed a certified ceramic filter that removes 99.9999% of pathogens and bacteria from contaminated water. But it, and other low-cost water filters, does not address chemical contamination.

The organization’s new award-winning filters are designed to provide water to victims in emergency disaster-relief situations, where shipping expensive bottled water to survivors is common but costly and highly inefficient. Aguadapt is a flexible filter platform which seeks to solve both of these problems. The family-sized system is robust, deploys rapidly, and can be quickly installed in nearly any commonly available container, which makes it ideal for emergency response.

Aguadapt is adaptable to regionally relevant contaminants like arsenic, lead, fluoride, or pesticides. As such, it can easily transition from emergency relief to a permanent water solution for families. Aguadapt takes a proven technology—the certified ceramic water filter—and makes it easy to ship worldwide; simple to install in nearly any container; adaptable to treat dangerous chemical contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, agrochemicals, and antibiotics; and ideal for both disaster response and long-term use. The goal is to make Aguadapt accessible to the people who need it most.

In the coming months, Caminos will pilot Aguadapt with nearly 700 families in southern México in partnership with Concern America—a US nonprofit working with at-risk communities in México, Guatemala, and Colombia.

Caminos de Agua has been hard at work to make Aguadapt an accessible water filter that is flexible enough to address the world’s most pressing emerging contaminants, such as arsenic and fluoride, which are present in the water extracted from many wells in our region.

“Aguadapt. All waters. All people.”

 

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