Clean drinking water. From the tap. This is not something you or I ever really think about each day. But for millions and millions around the world, getting water—even contaminated water—involves a long, often perilous daily journey. But one Israeli tech company is aiming to change all that with “Miriam’s Well,” an inexpensive, solar-powered water purification system.
It’s a common scene throughout the developing world—women and small children trekking for miles, with any sort of can or jug they can find, searching for a natural water source. Unfortunately, these ponds, rivers, or lakes are often contaminated with chemicals or feces, or other bacteria, which can lead to hepatitis A, diarrhea, typhoid, polio, cholera, and more. Plus, the journey itself to find water is often dangerous, putting family members at risk for attacks by wild animals or human traffickers. All for the sake of getting a few gallons of mostly undrinkable, dirty water.
In Israel, the Alumor company has developed “Miriam’s Well,” a device powered by the sun, utilizing ultraviolet technology to kill viruses and bacteria to US National Sanitation Foundation standards. And the maintenance is minimal—the filter in it only requires rinsing a few times a year.
David Waimann, with Alumor, said the device can connect with the water container by a pipe and then be activated by pressing a button. It is lightweight, needs just four watts of power, and turns a third of a gallon of questionable water into clean water for just half a penny. Not only is it cheap, but it’s quick. It can purify about two-thirds of a gallon in a minute.
Worldwide, it is estimated (by the World Health Organization) that 144 million people collect their daily water from ponds, lakes, and streams. An additional 435 million get their water supply from unprotected wells or springs. In 2017, 220 million people needed treatment for illness caused by parasitic worms in the water. And more than 800,000 die each year from diarrhea contracted because of unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene.