Michael Pritchard spoke at the recent TED Global Conference in Oxford about the Lifesaver Filter. From the outside this look like a water bottle people use for athletic activity..you know with a teat on top. On the inside, this bad boy has an ultra filter (~15nm poresize) and activated carbon which will remove just about everything (well not quote but….good enough for sure).
One feature that makes this product stand out for me is that it supposdly stops working when the 6000L threshold has been past (presumably the filter pores are clogged and the user cannot genereate enough pressure to push water through). If this really works this would be one key factor in ensuring usablity sucess with less educated populations.
Ptrichard presents this as the miracle solution for providing water to all those without access…Not so fast there! I don’t think this is a practical solution outside of short term complex emergencies (in certain cultures) or backpacking. The logistics and supply chain issues facing wide distribution (through public or private sector) of the product and spare parts are daunting…
This technology is really neat but can not serve as replacement for water infrastructure in the developing world. The big issues in providing water to poor people in low income countries do not result from technology – rather they stem from poor leadership, corruption, and POVERTY.