Bringing Safe Water to Households in the Developing World

MSR is excited to receive a grant from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) for a water treatment system designed to bring safe water to households in the developing world. The MSR Global Health team has developed a low-resource treatment system that addresses issues with existing options and provides an open source platform that accepts technologies from 3rd parties, thus encouraging further innovation in this critical space. Read on to learn more.

As the second leading cause of death in children under five, diarrheal disease takes the lives of more than half a million children around the world each year, according to the WHO. Yet, diarrheal disease can be prevented and treated with access to safe drinking water. However, the reality is access to safe water remains limited.

ISSUES WITH EXISTING TREATMENT OPTIONS 

The creation of a single water treatment solution that meets the needs of varied environments has proven challenging. Existing options are often too expensive for the developing world. In other cases, they’re not suitable for all environments, don’t treat an adequate amounts of water, or are not effective against all pathogens.

Tackling the issue head-on, the MSR Global Health team is developing a next-generation household drinking water treatment system for the developing world that addresses these issues. For their promising work, the team received a Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) grant to forward their progress. As an innovator and manufacturer of products that improve access to basic needs for people in low-resource countries, MSR’s R&D team is uniquely positioned to advance household water treatment worldwide.

TACKLING THE CHALLENGE

MSR’s new design would provide a household drinking water treatment system that’s intuitive and simple. Its technology will combat all microbiological agents that lead to diarrheal disease and provide safe water from a wide spectrum of water source types. Its targeted 10,000 L capacity will also reduce burdens on both end users and humanitarian agencies. In addition, the design includes a universal interface that makes it an open source platform for other parties with appropriate purification technologies.

MSR developing technology for household water treatment

MSR’s work toward household water treatment began in 1988, when its R&D team first applied extruded ceramics as a water treatment option. The resulting ceramic filter was recognized as one of the top innovations in ceramics in the past century. In the decades that followed, MSR continued to advance water treatment technology; much of their efforts were supported through world-class partnerships, such as with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, the United States Military, humanitarian organizations, and others.

KEEPING USERS IN MIND

As MSR’s scientists and engineers work on household water treatment technologies, the team stays focused on needs of the families who will ultimately use these tools. By studying daily habits and routines, community and family structures, and awareness levels of end users, the MSR team can work to ensure a higher acceptance level of this new treatment system.

The team currently has a beta prototype and we’re excited to see it progress to field trials and eventually become a groundbreaking innovation that could save many lives each year.