Christian Long

Michael Pritchard: Water Filter Turns Filthy Water Drinkable

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Reflection by BRENDON O-L.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Michael Pritchard:  Water Filter Turns Filthy Water Drinkable


It’s a necessity for life and it’s a convenience that we take for granted. What if we didn’t have clean, drinkable water?

When disasters occur, the people affected have to wait for aid to come and provide bottled water. Then they have to stay in camps in order to obtain this water. This approach draws a lot of people to a small area and allows for the spread of communicable diseases.

What if the people, themselves, could filter their own drinking water, instead of having to wait for aid to bring bottled water? This would prevent the spread of disease and ensure that they have clean drinking water.

This is what engineer Michael Pritchard was determined to do after watching how disaster, like Katrina and the Tsunami, were handled. He watched as the people affected by these disasters had to wait for days for aid to come. Out of frustration, he quickly went to work on the Livesaver bottle. The product of his ingenious work was a water filtering system that filtered water up to 15 nanometers. This guarantees clean water and prevents bacteria and viruses from being left in the filtered water, as the smallest bacteria is 200 nanometers and the smallest virus is 25 nanometers.

No virus or bacteria will be left in the water that comes from the Lifesaver bottle leaving clean, pure drinking water.

This is a wonderful invention, but then he thought what if everyone had one of his inventions? What if everyone had clean drinking water? The cost for this to become a reality is around 20 billion dollars. Today, that is relatively inexpensive compared to the large amounts of money that governments spend every year. For 20 billion dollars, the three-and-a-half billion people that suffer every year from unsanitary water and the two million kids that die every year could live.

Since his TED talk, he also invented the Lifesaver jerrycan which filters enough water for a family of four. Families could use this device to purify water from nearby sources rather than having to walk for four hours and back to get clean water from mountains and streams. He is also currently working in Haiti with Operation Blessing providing Lifesaver bottles and jerrycans to those who need clean drinking water.

You can follow the link below to the Lifesaver systems homepage which contains a video of his work in Haiti.


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