The Global Water Crisis
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 884 million people in the world don't have access to
safe water. As a result, 1.4 million children die every year from water-borne illnesses--that's 1 child every 20 seconds.
There are many different ways to filter water. For travel, charity work, and disaster response, the best filters are portable,
inexpensive, long-lasting, and remove all harmful bacteria. Here are the most popular options available today:
Sawyer Hollow Fiber Membrane Filters
Our proprietary filter developed using dialysis technology, the Hollow Fiber Membrane filter has tiny "U" shaped microtubes with 0.1 micron pores to filter harmful bacteria and contaminants. The filter uses gravity and can be attached to any bucket or bag. The extremely fast flow rate and compact size (it weighs just 3 ounces) allows individuals to filter water in their own homes as they need it, eliminating the need for a large water storage system as well. The Sawyer filter is easily cleaned with an included backwash syringe.
- Pros: Fast flow rate of up to 60 liters/hour. Can last 10+ years.
- Cons: You'll have more water than you'll know what to do with.
Sand Water Filters
A large container made of plastic or concrete is filled with different layers of gravel and sand. When constructed correctly, the top layer of sand will grow a biological "crust" of micro-organisms that will eat pathogens as they pass by. The bio-layer must be maintained precisely by a skilled professional, and is subject to weather and temperature conditions.
- Pros: Can be made locally in some areas. If the bio layer is maintained correctly, the filter container can last up to 10 years.
- Cons: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "Difficult to transport due to weight (140 lbs). High initial cost. Routine cleaning can harm the biolayer and decrease effectiveness."
Either a porous ceramic pot set inside a plastic bucket or a ceramic cartridge or filter ("disk" or "candle" shaped) filled with combustible material such as sawdust placed in a bucket.
- Pros: Can be made locally in some areas.
- Cons: According to the CDC: "A low flow rate of 1-3 liters per hour for non-turbid waters. Filters can break over time. Need for spare parts. Variable quality control for locally produced filters."