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Jun 6, 2019

Aguadapt is ASME bound

Aaron shows how easy Aguadapt is to install
Aaron shows how easy Aguadapt is to install

"You have no competition.  You have the most inexpensive, but certified, filter on the market.  If you make this universal adapter, no one can touch you guys."  Quote from the President of a partner NGO

This month Caminos de Agua's new technology, Aguadapt, is competing at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Innovation Showcase in Washington D.C.

Aguadapt takes a proven technology – the ceramic water filter – and makes it:

  • easy to ship worldwide;
  • simple to install in any container;
  • adaptable to treat dangerous water contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, agrochemicals, and antibiotics; and
  • ideal for disaster response and long-term use.

Last year Aguadapt was one of the Mexican national finalists at the James Dyson Awards - an international design competition that promotes new problem-solving ideas. We have high hopes of doing better this time and very confident that Dylan and Aaron, our Executive Director and R&D Coordinator respectively, will do well in showcasing Aguadapts' potential at the upcoming ASME competition.

We are also happy to report that Aguadapt is currently being tested in real-life situations with users in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico working with a partner organization. Our technology team is analyzing the first results, the durability and manufacturing quality of the adapter, as well as user reactions. We are striving to make Aguadapt accessible to the people who need it most, without compromising their rights, integrity or dignity.

In the past year, we invested valuable time and resources in developing Aguadapt – far more than we generated in Ceramic Water Filter sales. We anticipate this trend to continue in the near future as we develop and test prototypes, purchase manufacturing tools, build production and storage capacity, hire and train factory staff, and bring on new key team members who will improve the production and distribution aspects of our work. Once Aguadapt launches, however, we expect this pattern to reverse, with Aguadapt becoming self-sufficient quickly thereafter.  Any profits that are generated will go towards funding Caminos de Agua's work.

At Caminos de Agua we believe we are accountable to our social mission instead of shareholders and have so far been able to develop Aguadapt by tapping into philanthropic donations and grants that do not need to be repaid. We can, therefore, make Aguadapt and our other solutions available at an affordable price, unsubsidized to those that need them the most. We rely on the generous support of donors, especially GlobalGiving donors - who believe Aguadapt is the first low-cost filter that is flexible enough to handle the 21st century’s emerging contaminants and increasing natural disasters, ensuring the human right to water for all.

The entire team at Caminos de Agua has been hard at work to make Aguadapt an accessible water filter that addresses the world’s most pressing emerging contaminants.

However, we can not do it alone.

We need your support in making Aguadapt a reality.

"Aguadapt. All Waters. All People."

Partner NGO's are the link between us and the user
Partner NGO's are the link between us and the user
Ismael inspects each individual adapter
Ismael inspects each individual adapter
Adapters are then attached to our ceramic filter
Adapters are then attached to our ceramic filter
Aguadapt filters ready for testing in Chiapas
Aguadapt filters ready for testing in Chiapas

Links:

May 9, 2019

The rains are coming and so is safe drinking water

Drinking freshly filtered rainwater in Pozo Hondo
Drinking freshly filtered rainwater in Pozo Hondo

The rainy season is about to start in our region of Central Mexico.  This is a great time for Caminos de Agua because rain means the cisterns we have built with dozens of communities, impacting thousands, in this region will soon start filling up with healthy drinking water.

Many of the cisterns we built late last year and early this year will start filling up for the first time and this is a cause for celebration. Twenty-five large-scale rainwater harvesting systems were built for the communities of Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada which will benefit approximately 60 families; however, residents were worried that the local grade school had no fresh drinking water and very little water for restroom use or basic maintenance.  They conveyed the need to Caminos de Agua, and we found a generous donor, outside of GlobalGiving, who provided the financing. The parents of the school children (mostly the mothers) organized, were trained, and ultimately built the ferrocement cisterns, which is no easy task, and finished the construction just last month. The inauguration and party celebrating these school systems is scheduled for next week!

Additionally, we are working through various partners to get many new rainwater harvesting systems off the ground. We just just put the finishing touches on another school system with the highschool students in the community of Agustín González. This community has some of the highest levels of fluoride contamination we have ever seen in San Miguel – impacting the participating teenagers development and health throughout their life. Many thanks to the GlobalGiving community and our long-time partners, El Maíz Más Pequeño, for providing support on this project.

Additionally, we are working with our partners at Casita Linda de begin implementing a comprehensive education program and build nine (9) large-scale rainwater harvesting systems in the community of Palo Colorado. We are also working with the Municipal and State Departments of Environment and Sustainability to potentially build upwards of 80 rainwater harvesting systems in communities at-risk throughout the entire state in the months to come. So, keep your eyes peeled for some big projects in future updates.

The work we do involves far more than construction.  We’ve been taking recent opportunities to develop and begin piloting our new education program. We provided a series of workshops to mothers participating in the Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada school rainwater program. Topics include the water cycle, the importance of knowing our watershed, the health risks of contaminated groundwater (these two communities are affected by high levels of arsenic and fluoride in their drinking water), and how rainwater is the most important solution to the problem now. This educational program has evolved into six extensive modules that we will be implementing in new rainwater programs in the future.

This educational development is a massive undertaking for the organization and an integral to – and perhaps the foundation of– the future of Caminos de Agua. Our team is working diligently every week to create new materials, design modules, and pilot new ideas. Lots of these topics have never existed in these types of educational programs to date – with each module linking to the previous and future modules and focusing on things like: the entire spectrum of water contaminants (i.e. organic and inorganic chemicals, etc) and their individual impacts on human health – ideas that are largely set aside by tradtional water educational programs.

Get a taste of our new educational materials in one of the photos below. 

By finding solutions to water issues, communities are empowered to organize and solve other problems. Other grassroots NGOs with a longer and more constant presence in these communities are crucial collaborators and partners in this objective. A local woman summed it best in this description of the experience, “we are not only building cisterns, but we are also building community.”

Your donations not only build rainwater harvesting systems, but they are also helping develop stronger and more resilient communities. We thank everyone that is supporting our efforts through GlobalGiving. We are ready to do more, but limited only by our ability to raise more funds. Help us take advantage of this rainy season today!

¡Muchas gracias!

Paco Guajardo

Carrying rainwater to filter in La Vaciada
Carrying rainwater to filter in La Vaciada
Student building a base in Agustin Gonzalez
Student building a base in Agustin Gonzalez
Delivering ceramic filters in La Vaciada
Delivering ceramic filters in La Vaciada
Mothers starting work at the school in Pozo Hondo
Mothers starting work at the school in Pozo Hondo
Draft of a page from our new educational program
Draft of a page from our new educational program
Mar 11, 2019

Aguadapt: our ceramic filter can transition from emergency relief to a permanent water solution.

Pascuala uses our ceramic filter
Pascuala uses our ceramic filter

Caminos de Agua will be piloting its ceramic filter and adapter (Aguadapt) to test its effectiveness in emergency situations and transition from emergency use to permanent water solution. The Aguadapt filter can produce more than 27,000-liters of drinking water over its lifetime.

To prepare for this pilot, we recently went out to the field to assess some of the first ceramic filters we placed with 47 families in the community near San Miguel de Allende over five years ago and talked to several of the participants. Pascuala, a critical organizer of the project in her community, shared the following:

"As a child, I drank river water because we did not know anything about contamination. It affected my siblings and me a lot, we all have stained teeth (from excessive fluoride in the water) . . . and during those years suffered greatly from stomach pain, nausea, and very bad headaches".

We know that our certified ceramic filter can remove 99% of pathogens and bacteria from contaminated water. Making it adaptable to any container in emergency response situations will allow it to treat water quickly, on-site, and with locally available materials and transition from emergency relief to a permanent water solution for families. Seeing that our ceramic filters are still effective after five years ensures many persons will continue to have access to safe and healthy water long after an emergency situation is over. Pascuala had this to say about her families' use of the ceramic filter.

"We have been drinking rainwater and using a ceramic filter for over five years. My oldest son, who drank (contaminated) river water before we had the (rainwater) harvesting cistern, has very stained teeth, but my three youngest ones were raised drinking rainwater and their teeth are white and healthy. The ceramic filter gives us the confidence that our cistern water is clean and that nothing bad is in it."

The Aguadapt universal adapter is now in its first production run and will be piloted with a partner organization, Concern America, in 600 homes in Southern Mexico in the coming months. We will be reporting on the results of this pilot to our Global Giving supporters and through our website. Our annual report has additional information on technical advances and human interest stories of the impact of our solutions are having in the communities we work with.

From everyone at Caminos de Agua, thank you for continuing support of our research and projects.

It provides safe drinking water for her family.
It provides safe drinking water for her family.
600 homes will pilot our emergency relief adapter
600 homes will pilot our emergency relief adapter

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