Inventor unveils solar-powered water purifier

A Swedish inventor has unveiled a device that she hopes will be used to purify water for drinking in some of the world's poorest countries.

Petra Wadström has spent the last eleven years developing Solvatten, a solar-powered water purifier.

The device, which from the outside resembles a standard jerrycan, can be filled with up to 10 litres of water, opened out and left in the sun.

A simple indicator uses a red or green face to show users when the water is safe to drink.

Ms Wadström said: “My inspiration to work with Solvatten is the fact that people are living with dirty water around the world and children are suffering from bad water, which is easily preventable, but people are living with a lot of solar energy and not using it.”

The Solvatten company has already tested its device in parts of Kenya, where Ms Wadstrom said that people using it gave a lot of positive feedback.

“It’s very easy to understand the method, and it’s user friendly so you don’t need to have technological skills to understand how to use it,” she added.

UN Habitat and the Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO) have also trialled it in Nepal, where thousands of people die every year as a result of water-borne diseases.

Bhushan Tuludhar, executive director of ENPHO in Nepal, said it was one of a number of water-purifying methods being tested for its effectiveness in supplying poor people with regular access to clean water.

“Work is being done but at this current rate, central water treatment facilities that provide safe water to everybody are a distant dream,” he said.

“So what we need are point-of-use water treatment facilities, point-of-use water treatment technologies that are suitable to local conditions.”

Watch Petra Wadström explain how Solvatten works below.

Kate Martin

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