Birmingham water experts develop device to help save lives in India . . . . by Asian Lite News
Experts at the University of Birmingham have developed a unique device that could save lives in India by quickly and simply testing whether water supplies are safe to drink.
A team from the University’s Department of Civil Engineering has developed a prototype optical equipment which uses water’s natural fluorescence to ‘scan’ the water and highlight pollutants that are present in the sample – almost instantly revealing whether supplies are safe to drink.
The researchers are now working with experts from Oxfam and funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Diageo Foundation to refine the instrument design and make it ideally suited to disaster relief and areas of poor sanitation.
And they plan to work with counterparts at TERI University on research based around the quality of drinking water in New Delhi.
The city is located on the banks of the Yamuna and many inhabitants rely on the river for their daily water supply. Many households in northern Delhi rely on shallow groundwater’s, abstracted by hand-pump, for drinking water supply – providing potential for water contamination.
The ‘Duo Fluor’ device uses portable and inexpensive, off-the-shelf equipment to reveal unsafe sources of drinking water in less than 30 seconds. It should help reduce the risk of future widespread outbreaks of cholera and other water-related diseases in areas of poor sanitation.
Professor John Bridgeman led the team of researchers who developed the device. He said: “It is vital to ensure that people have access to safe water supplies. The ‘Duo Fluor’ device is a huge step forward in managing water
He added that despite the hard work of those responding to the UN Millennium Development Goals, there are still 768 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water supplies and 2.5 billion are without access to improved sanitation services.
Current methods of analysing the quality of drinking water take more than 12 hours and use expensive reagents. This is not fast enough to meet people’s needs in poor communities and disaster zones.