In your article on the tsunami victims’ lack of drinking water (Focus, 14 January) you highlight the problem of low-cost technology for water treatment.
My company has supplied parts to a company which manufactures such a unit. It is low-maintenance, is approximately the size of a desk and will produce 500 litres of water/hour. It was developed to supply clean drinking water for villages in Africa and therefore is hand operated. This unit removes all bacteria and viruses from the water, thus eliminating water-borne disease. I believe the cost is approximately £5,000 a unit.
It would not overcome the main problem of removing the salt, as this is in solution, but because it uses an ultrafiltration technique, fresh water could be obtained from, say, a river even if it is contaminated.
Prior to the disaster the company contacted various agencies, but ran into the usual layers of bureaucracy that makes it almost impossible to get the unit where it is needed.
As is always the case, it is not until something like this disaster occurs, that people start wishing they had something like this equipment. I am sure there are other manufacturers out there who have a solution to the desalination problem but have faced the same problems.
Tyne & Wear