Water system infrastructure falls short in many cities in the developing world. Even when centralized treatment is provided, intermittent service and leaky distribution systems compromise the water quality before it reaches customers.
The urban population is growing fast. The UN predicts a nearly four-fold increase in urban population in the least developed countries from 2010 to 2050. Kofi Annan stated “the locus of global poverty is moving to cities, a process now recognized as the urbanization of poverty”.
Even now, six hundred million people (nearly one in ten of all the people on the planet) rely on boiling their water to make it safe to drink. Most use charcoal or wood as fuel, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. That number will increase with the urbanization of poverty, unless a practial alternative to boiling is found and deployed widely. But it is highly unlikely that municipal water treatment services will be able even to catch up, let alone keep up, with urban population growth in rapidly developing countries.
The UV-H2O-Box (“water box”) gives individual households in those places a way to disinfect their water, after they get it from unreliable and often contaminated city pipes, but before they use it. The family member who looks after the family’s health and nutrition can also make their drinking water safe, without using chemicals or creating smoke. The water box uses germicidal ultraviolet light to kill microbiological contaminants, and is a substitute for boiling and other point-of-use treatment methods. In addition, the family water box is a time-of-need solution; the water doesn’t have to be treated in advance or allowed to cool before using.
Right now, boiling is very widely used, but it is also time-consuming, polluting, and wasteful of resources. Smoke inhalation from biomass stoves kills more people every year than malaria. Other household water treatment options such as chlorine tablets and ceramic or biosand filters have their own inherent weaknesses, resulting in limited adoption. Skipping treatment altogether is even worse; over a million children die every year from water-borne disease. The water box provides a practical water treatment alternative for single families, enabling them to take charge of the safety of their daily water.
Our goal is to provide a better alternative to the 600,000,000 people who rely on boiled water every day. Every one of the current boxes we sell brings us closer to that goal.