January 24th, 2011
Professor Thomas McKaig
Alain Saint-Onge 0590746
According to a report published by the United Nations is it estimated that nearly 1.1 billion people living in low-income countries lack access to improved water sources, and even more lack safe drinking water (United Nations, 2002). Diarrhoea causes an estimated 2.2 million deaths per year as a result of the relatively scarce supply of potable water in low-income countries (World Health Organization, 2008). In 2008, diarrhoeal deceases ranked as the fifth leading cause of death worldwide and as the third highest in low-income countries (World Health Organization, 2008). Countries where diarrhoeal diseases are especially prevalent lack the capital necessary to invest into and build central water purification facilities and therefore force many to rely upon household-based systems to treat water at its point-of-use (Reller et al., 2003).
Natural disaster can also increase the likelihood of contracting such illnesses (Watson et al., 2007). Diarrhoeal outbreaks can occur after drinking water has been contaminated and are especially prevalent after flooding. Although this issue is generally more widespread in developing countries, it was a very serious concern for the survivors of hurricane Katrina in New-Orleans. It took nearly five days for the US, one of the world’s most technically advanced nations to deliver clean, safe drinking water to the survivors taking refuge at the Superdome (Pritchard, 2009).
The purification of water can be accomplished using a variety of different methods. Separating of contaminants from drinking water can be achieved through boiling, filtration, oxidation or the addition of chemicals. Using each of these methods, there have been several attempts to solve this issue by leveraging technology. After witnessing the devastating impact that a lack of clean...