Safe Water System
Safe drinking water is water pure enough to be used without any immediate or long-term health risk. In most developed countries, all water supplies to household, commerce and industry are of drinking standard, even though only a tiny proportion is actually drunk or used in food preparation. Most water is used in washing, sanitation or irrigation.
In many parts of the world, people do not have access to safe drinking water and use sources contaminated with bacteria, other pathogens or unacceptable levels of toxins or suspended solids. Such water is not wholesome, and drinking or using such water in food preparation leads to widespread illness. It is a major cause of sickness and death in many countries. Reducing waterborne disease is a major public health goal in developing countries.
According to UNICEF, approximately 400,000 children in India die every year from diseases spread through impure water (about two children every three minutes). In India, water borne diseases cause twice as many deaths as AIDS and one and a half times those caused by road accidents. Flooding during the monsoon season compounds the problem of unsafe water supplies. Many water sources in India and Nepal are contaminated and cause disease and death.
Water is essential to humans and to the survival of all organisms. Approximately 70% of the human body is water. Water is not only a crucial component of metabolic processes but also serves as a solvent and cleanser for many bodily solutes. Clean drinking water is a basic need for all people.
The First Step
In October 2008, five Living Water Treatment Systems (LWTS) were purchased from Water Missions International at a cost of $5,000 each. Shipping and import duties would more than double the cost, but FedEx shipped these systems to Delhi, India, at their own expense. We still had to pay import duty and shipment from Delhi to Nepal. The LWTS is a self-contained water filtration system that can be loaded onto the back of a truck, connected to a water source, and can provide clean drinking water within hours. These five systems are now providing safe water at four rural locations in Nepal and at a leprosy colony in India.
A Step Forward
Our experience with the LWTS system provoked us to investigate cheaper ways of providing safe water. The first attempt was a Reverse Osmosis system at a cost of $4,000 (and no import duties or local transport). This was a much cheaper way of providing pure water, but had some disadvantages.
- The high pressure pump requires a three-phase supply, which is not very common in rural settings.
- Only 20% of the water coming into the system is pure. The other 80% has to go to toilets and showers.
- The water is so pure that it can suck salts from the people who drink it.
- The water is so pure that it has no resistance to bacteria after treatment. A dirty finger can reinfect the water.
The positive side is that the taste of the water is significantly improved.
Another Step Forward
In 2011, the Lord introduced us in a strange way to the process of ozonation, in which ozone is injected into water and destroys all the bacteria in it. The hardness of the water is reduced and the taste of the water is slightly improved.
Our first ozonated safe water system was installed at the JMHA Hospital in Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India. Several more water systems have been installed in communities around Salem and there are further installations at schools, hospitals, orphanages and leprosy colonies in Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Nepal.
After each installation we review the system for efficiency and possible cost reduction. Our current design incorporates several modifications. After filtering process, the water is directed to a storage tank where our new ozonator diffuses ozone into the water. This has further reduced the cost as it eliminates the need for running 60' pipes, venturi and in some cases, motor.
We have now installed over 45 safe water systems in disadvantaged communities across India and Nepal.
Safe Water System
Our process for making water safe for drinking involves two stages, namely Filtration and Ozone Mixing.
Filtration: Three filters are used to filter the water. The first removes particles of sand or dust. The second filter picks up particles as small as 5 microns in size. The third filter is an activated carbon filter.
Ozone Mixing: After the filtering process, ozone is pumped into water. The diffuser stone diffuses the ozone. The ozonator is run for about 45 minutes in a 500 liters tank before its consumed.