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Worldwide, contaminated drinking water is the single largest cause of illness in rural and disaster-affected communities. Most of such communities drink directly from natural sources of water such as ponds, lakes and rivers for their daily needs. Unfortunately, a large part of these water bodies harbour bacteria and virus which cause illnesses such as Cholera, Ghardia, chronic diarrhoea, or even premature death. This waterborne illness crisis has been challenging to address because centralized water distribution networks are often unavailable to rural communities due to high capital costs and low population densities. Water pipeline infrastructure takes a long time to build and the process is often slow due to political and economic conditions. Even in areas with adequate water treatment, disasters such as floods, typhoons and earthquakes can cripple existing water infrastructure. There is therefore a huge cost - in time, money and health - for these communities in obtaining clean drinking water when they resort to other alternatives such as bottled water, which is expensive to transport and costly to purchase, or ceramic and biosand filters which have low water quality and slow water flow rates.
WateROAM provides both rural communities and disaster-hit regions who lack access to centralised water supplies, with a low-cost, high-performance portable water filtration device, the ROAMfilter Plus. This robust and highly portable device produces clean drinking water for 150 people each day at 250 litres per hour from surface water sources without the need for electricity. The product has a long life-span of 2 years due to its robust 0.02 micron membrane technology which can withstand a high level of turbidity, and can be easily maintained. The system can be powered by means other than the default manual handpump, including gravity feed, solar pumps and electric pumps. Each unit is expected to cost less than USD1 per person per year. Ultimately, the ROAMfilter Plus is designed to encourage rapid adoption to provide distributed clean water, and enable lives to be improved by grassroot communities, rather than to wait for centralised water infrastructure to be set up to address the problem.