Water-filtering system a splash hit

SOUTH AFRICA • I-Drop Water aims to increase the accessibility of safe drinking water by making purification and distribution processes more efficient.

According to a 2015 World Health Organisation report, about 300 million people in Africa and 1.8 billion people worldwide use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.

Frustrated by the drinking water industry's inefficiencies, Mr James Steere and Ms Kate Thiers Steere left their jobs in 2015 to start I-Drop as an alternative business solution.

The purification systems are installed in any grocery store with access to a running tap, at no cost to the shop owner.

Customers can then purchase safe drinking water for one rand (10 Singapore cents) per litre. At the end of each month, I-Drop splits the profit from water sales evenly with the shop owner. Said Mr Steere: "It's a price point low enough for just about everyone to afford and it's incredibly efficient."

The system's water filter, which is made in the United States, uses a nanocarbon configuration to filter out viruses, bacteria and cysts - anything that is carbon-based and could make someone sick - while retaining the water's minerals.

Using GSM technology, I-Drop machines can be monitored from anywhere and require minimal oversight. Its system also reduces plastic waste because consumers can use their own containers or purchase a reusable one instead of buying individual water bottles.

I-Drop has partnered more than 60 shop owners in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Ghana and has sold more than half a million litres of safe drinking water.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'Water-filtering system a splash hit'. Print Edition | Subscribe