An invention created by a nonprofit organization based at the University of Virginia (UVA) could change the way that millions of impoverished families purify their water supplies. Known simply as the MadiDrop, this small ceramic tablet is reportedly capable of providing years of service at a relatively low cost.
According to a press release from UVA Today, the college's media outlet, the design has been in development for several years. It was created in a partnership with PureMadi, a nonprofit with a focus on resource access in poor nations. The source reported on February 5 that the leadership team at PureMadi has already been working on a manufacturing facility in South Africa, where local residents were employed to make another kind of water filtration system. James Smith, a UVA engineer who was involved with the project, hopes that this and other sites will begin producing the MadiDrop within the next two years.
"Eventually that factory will be capable of producing about 500 to 1,000 filters per month, and our 10-year plan is to build 10 to 12 factories in South Africa and other countries," Smith said in an interview. "Each filter can serve a family of five or six for two to five years, so we plan to eventually serve at least 500,000 people per year with new filters."
Made of clay, sawdust and water, the MadiDrop works by slowly processing an untreated source of water. During operation, the design yields approximately two liters per hour. In regions where it's difficult to come by any amount of potable water, this breakthrough will surely be welcome.