If you live in a city, it’s important to remember that many rural communities worldwide have a much harder time getting utilities than city-dwellers. Water is the most important utility of all, so it can be fascinating to look at the engineering and technological developments that have contributed to allowing this life-giving molecule to be supplied effectively and efficiently in rural communities. These developments are often feats of civil, technical, and mechanical engineering and should be something to marvel at.
Tippy Tap – The Importance of Hand Washing
People in developing countries have a hard time washing their hands. The faucet was an incredible invention because it allowed two hands to be washed at the same time. When you use a jug to pour water on your hands, you can only use one hand at a time, which is far less effective at combatting disease. Tippy tap is a low-tech piece of engineering that solves this problem, built with just a container, a string, and a basic support structure. This low-cost innovation allows those from communities with no direct plumbing to ward off disease by doing something most people in the developed world take for granted.
Cheap Water Treatment
Water treatment can be very expensive and often relies on large local treatment plants. When a rural community doesn’t have access to those local treatment plants, they are much more likely to suffer from preventable diseases. Luckily, a portable water chlorinator can be made from just a PVC pipe and some chlorine, allowing rural communities to locally treat their own water if they don’t have the municipal support they need.
Many companies in rural areas have a hard time. Water is often an essential part of manufacturing, but sometimes if costs are variable, businesses can stray into unprofitability if their water costs fluctuate to too high a price. Luckily, if their country has a deregulated water system, they will be able to choose the business water provider, making a deal with a different company that can make sure they will always be able to manufacture their products properly and serve their community. This will relieve the stress of worrying about price fluctuations. This is not just important in the developing world; rural businesses in the developed world struggle with water pricing, too – it is an issue that impacts everybody.
Bicycle Rope PumpsRope pumps have been used for thousands of years as a way to harvest water from the ground. If you have a direct water supply pumped into your home, your water is pumped out of water supplies by huge powered pumps (or it’s just recycled water from your municipality’s water system). Those who don’t have that luxury have to pump their water manually. There’s an easier way to do that nowadays, however, by taking the same technology that’s inside a bicycle. The pumper can cycle and pull water up from a well by using their legs, something that’s a lot less effort, more efficient, and a lot faster than manually pumping water with their hands.