CONTAMINATED WATER: THE CHILE PLAN

31 January, 2018

Access to safe and potable water is a fundamental factor for health and human development at a national and local level. Investments for adequate supply of potable water can provide a net economic benefit by reducing the negative impact in the public health, which can cost several times more than the investment in the safe water supply.

International organizations have taken measures to comply with the SDG 6 goals for clean water, with projects intensive in sanitation infrastructure, and therefore also intensive in investment and time. In the meantime, the issues become more severe.

While the urban potable water statistics in Chile are favorable – 99,9% coverage according to the Minister of Interior and Public Health (2015) – there are still rural and peri-urban areas with population that does not have access to sources of safe water. There is only 12% coverage of potable water in semi-concentrated rural areas (Minister of Public Works). Of the 346 listed underserved communities of the country, 80 are in severe water supply stress status, or do not have access to human consumption supply due to drought, contamination or lack of connectivity to the safe water source. (Diario, Chile University).

Through the Program “Innovation with Purpose: Safe water access for all” we call on Communities, Municipalities and Corporations, to identify the issues within their areas of influence to, in a collaborative effort, guarantee access to safe and potable water for the most vulnerable people in the country. This public-private effort seeks to integrate objectives, resources, issues and capabilities under the guidance of the Fundación Alfredo Zolezzi Garretón.

Our partner, AIC Rotoplas, are the creators and developers of the Plasma Water Sanitation System (PWSS) – a technological break-through, capable of eliminating virus and bacteria present in water through the temporary transformation of a continuous flow of contaminated water into non-thermal plasma. The program has a duration of 24 months, includes the deployment of 2 or more PWSS Units of easy field installation and operation. Each Camp Unit sanitizes 4,800 liters per day of contaminated water and has a 5-year useful life.

The Units can have complementary modules to the plasma such as filters, activated coal, reverse osmosis or others, to meet the specific composition of the water to be treated. This will assure the water potability as well as its quality.

The project will be supported by 3 pillars:

  • Technology Solution Adoption: If the technology is not used and adopted by the community it benefits, its functionality is lost. In conjunction with local allies (leaders, organizations, companies, etc.) we will deploy a closely monitored Social Intervention and Guidance for the generation of trust in the solution, care for the water resources and strategies for the sustainability of the units.
  • Operation and Maintenance: The program includes 18 months of basic maintenance for the PWSS units as well as training for the community leaders that will in time assume the responsibility for the equipment operation and maintenance.
  • Visible and traceable impact: Periodically, relevant data will be collected through social workers to monitor the behavior of technical and social variables and indicators. This information will be correlated with the real time data delivered by the units that are connected to the platform, which will allow visibility of the impact of the project on the quality of life of the people it benefits.

To address the water issues, it is imperative that we Innovate with Purpose, generating high impact solutions that connect the world of technology with poverty. The solutions to the greatest challenges that humanity faces today are of a magnitude that cannot be accomplished individually by a Government, a multilateral institution, an NGO or a technology. We need to collaborate.

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