They say bread is life,

and, sure, bread is good.

But, water …

Water is the stuff life is made of.

More than just a mere thirst quencher,

water is the luscious, liquid basis of our bodies.

It makes up more than half of who we are!

“There just wouldn’t be any you, me, or Fido the dog without the existence of an ample liquid water supply on Earth,” confirms the U.S. Geological Survey. “The unique qualities and properties of water are what make it so important and basic to life.”

Photo by DFID, UK Department for International Development (CC-BY-2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Clean drinking water is not a readily available option for over 780 million people on the planet. Hydration sometimes seems like more of a dietary accessory than a necessity here in the U.S.

Fortunately, some well-hydrated brains at the University of Virginia have collaborated to form PureMadi, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating innovative yet incredibly simple water purification systems that help provide clean water in South Africa and other developing countries.

PureMadi’s “flower pot” filters combine clay, sawdust, and metallic nanoparticles to clean up to 99.9 percent of the potentially deadly pathogens found in third-world water supplies. The design allows a user to pour water from an untreated source, such as a river, into the pot and allow it to filter through into a five-gallon bucket underneath.

Photo of a woman flow-testing filters courtesy of PureMadi.

PureMadi has also developed the MadiDrop, a water purification tablet made out of the same materials that can work alone or in conjunction with the ceramic filters. While it doesn’t remove sediment like the filter, it’s a cheaper purification solution, and a single tablet can work for up to six months.

Photo of ceramic filter disks courtesy of PureMadi.

Project leader James Smith has big dreams for the filters. “Our 10-year plan is to … serve at least 500,000 people per year with new filters.”



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    There is never enough pressure to make the world’s water fit to drink! In this day and age, it is appalling that so many people have only contaminated water to use. This filter system is quite practical and obviously inexpensive to use on a large scale. If only we could combine the necessary resources, education and ongoing commitment to keep it going and spread. James Smith is a hero!

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