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The United Nations estimates that a minimum of 1.5 million children every year die of dehydration and disease caused from a lack of access to clean water. 783 million people around the world lack clean water, which represents 11% of the population. Technological innovations have recently been developed around the world focused on addressing this deadly issue.

One of these innovations, the mWater mobile app uses data to test the cleanliness of water. It tracks all of these measurements online, allowing officials to map areas with clean water and those with the most deadly levels of contamination. All of the information picked up by the app is stored in an online database, which is free and available to the public. Its measurement capabilities also allow users to determine immediately whether or not the water is safe to drink. By increasing access to information and using scientific measurements to track the problem areas of water sanitation, the mWater mobile app decreases the workloads of health organizations and governments looking for solutions to the clean water dilemma.

The Life Straw is also a new technology with great potential for saving the lives of millions. The Vestergaard Frandsen Company of Switzerland developed the Life Straw as a filtration system used to purify up to 700 liters of water, approximately a year’s supply of water for one person. The Life Straw is a pipe structure allows producers to make the product for under 5 USD. The pipe contains carbons to filter out parasites and a resin to kill bacteria. The straw is small enough to be worn around a person’s neck, making it convenient for transporting. Anyone can use the Life Straw simply by placing the tube in water and drinking through it, like a regular straw.

In addition to mobile apps and filter pipes, the Stellenbosch University of South Africa Water Institute’s HOPE Project seeks to improve the availability of clean water to people all over the world. This group has created a water filter known simply as the ‘teabag.’ This filter stands out as a promising solution as it costs less than half of one cent to produce and also withstands multiple uses. One teabag can purify up to one liter of water.

The filter works by using carbon and nano filters to separate out bacteria and pollutants. The South African Bureau of Standards completed testing on the teabag filter and deemed it safe and effective. Stellenbosch University signed a deal with the corporation Aquacare in South Africa to begin manufacturing this helpful new project.

These exciting new developments in the world of water technology ignite hope for many.

– Allison Meade

Sources: The Hope Project, El Paso Inc., How Stuff Works
Photo: The Daily Aztec