A new age is dawning in innovative, affordable, and ecologically savvy water treatment options. Take, for example, Aguaclara, a social enterprise engineering firm started by Cornell University that develops sustainable, gravity-powered water treatment plants that operate without the need for electricity.
Because AguaClara uses low-tech, mechanical systems made with materials and labor that are locally available and — perhaps even more importantly — are locally maintainable, its water treatment plants are highly adaptable to the various needs of a wide range of impoverished communities. Equally important, AguaClara works closely with local non-profit Agua Para el Pueblo and residents of these communities, providing them with technical expertise and education as well as a free, open-source, automated web service that gives them access to water treatment plant designs which they can customize and scale to fit their particular situations. This program illustrates how using local assets and engaging local people are vital keys to success in addressing water treatment issues in developing countries.
Additional examples of low-cost and ecologically-friendly water treatment success stories can be found in the Ecological Handprints eBook.