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An Affordable, Easy-to-Use Water Purification Tablet

The Challenge: 

The Question: 

Can we improve water quality in developing countries

The Problem: 

What is a cost effective method to purify water?

The Solution: 

To create a water treatment technology that is sustainable and culturally appropriate and help curb the spread of disease in communities.


Access to potable water is a severe and increasingly pressing health issue for many countries. An affordable solution for poor water quality that will improve health within developing countries. Communities will be taught how to make the filter and the purification drops - made from clay, water, saw dust and small amounts of silver. Then it will become a source of local enterprise from the sales of the filter and drops.  

Interesting read


Access to potable water is a severe and increasingly pressing issue for countries in the Global South. Due to a confluence of factors including overuse, population growth and climate change, an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025. One recent innovation that could potentially revolutionize water purification in poor, rural communities is the MadiDrop.

The MadiDrop is a porous ceramic disc that has been infused with silver or copper. When dropped in water, the tablet releases ionic silver or copper that strips away bacteria and pathogens to produce clean, drinkable water. Each tablet is capable of treating 10 to 20 litres of water for up to six months. The result is an affordable, easily distributable and long-lasting alternative for families who lack access to a safe, potable water source.

The MadiDrop is the second water treatment technology developed by PureMadi, an organization formed by a group of interdisciplinary students from the University of Virginia. Their first project was the creation of a ceramic water filter factory in South Africa. The filters use local labour, readily available materials (clay, sawdust and water) and are treated with a dilute solution of silver nano-particles that effectively filter out common waterborne pathogens. The PureMadi ceramic filters were designed to create a cheap and sustainable point-of-use water purification solution for low-income households. To date, they have been well-received and highly effective among families in Limpopo province, South Africa.

The impetus for the MadiDrop was to apply this successful model to create an even cheaper point-of-use water treatment technology. The MadiDrop can be used in a variety of water storage containers, and at only a few dollars per drop, can provide families with purified water for an extended period of time. Lab results look promising but extensive field testing is still required to determine whether the MadiDrop is a sustainable and culturally appropriate solution. With any luck, the MadiDrop will eventually be widely used to improve clean water access and curb the spread of waterborne diseases in low-income communities.