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Desalination technnology as a pathway to prosperity and instrument of peace within the indigenous Wayuu community in Northern Colombia

Our proprietary low cost desalinization technology solves the lack of supply of drinking water in the dispersed regions at 20% of the cost.

Photo of Tanita Preston
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The AEROPURIFIER is a sustainable system of potabilization and desalination of brackish, saltwater that operates autonomously directly with the wind, without using any type of electric energy, chemical descaling or additives for the cleaning of RO membranes. Our goal is to install 400 units between 2018 and 2020 in selected communities covering the weakest populations in la Guajira; followed by scale towards total coverage in the region.

Our team georeferenced approximately 1000 wateerwells built in the 1950’s, most providing water unfit for human and animal consumption or agriculture. Leveraging on the existing infrastructure, our team retrofit and installed our first system at coordinates 11° 43'1.06 "N 72 ° 25'44.25" W, serving the Wayúu Uletsumana community. The system has been running uninterruptedly for nearly for years. Two years under certification – SGS Switzerland

This installation was followed by a pilot of 40 units installed with the National Risk Unit of Colombia. Results achieved are measurable as each equipment produce from 2000 to 4000 liters per day of potable water that serve around 12,000 indigenous people. Samples were analyzed by the state´s sanitary authorities. Results complied with the WHO’s standards for water totally suitable for human consumption.

The team has since installed 80 units in the region producing a minimum of 160.000lt of water a day and is designing a digital telemetry system to effectively monitor the operation and water quality remotely.

OpenIdeo would effectively support continued installation, maintenance training and catapult of global partnerships that can oversee, finance, certify and report on our results and help implement offsite telemetric monitoring that provides information on the long-term technological, economic, social and environmental sustainability of the project, highlighting a pathway to effective and efficient replicability and scale.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

In the 1950’s the Colombian president built waterwells in the Guajira understanding the challenge of obtaining clean drinking water in arid region. Today the area faces a humanitarian crisis that have scaled over the past 10 years due to “El Nino” phenomenon and groundwater contamination from the region’s core economic activity. Some report that over 4000 children have died since 2011 as a direct or indirect result of this crisis.
The department of La Guajira has a population of 900.000, of these, approximately 45% belong to the Wayuu Indigenous community settled in dispersed Rancherias most of which face dramatic challages to obtain clean drinking water. From women and girls having to walk miles to source water, the inability to develop agricultural sustainability to child mortality, solving the water problem for these communities can benefit nearly 400.000 people living in uncertainty today.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The AEROPURIFIER, invented by Juan Carlos Borrero, hooks up a windmill to a standard well. Wind power provides the pressure necessary to suck the well’s saltwater through a series of filters and membranes laced with copper and silver ions to kill off any potential pathogens, rather than the more expensive chemical compounds used in reverse-osmosis plants, the AEROPURIFIER stands at 20% cost of traditional electric osmosis systems.
As unfiltered water passes through the membrane, the positively charged ions react with a microbe’s negatively charged cell walls, rendering it unable to reproduce or absorb nutrients. From there, the still-salty water is sucked through reverse-osmosis membranes permeable to water molecules but not salt ions. The final result: purified freshwater.
Additionally, this project leverages on the existing watermills in the region and replaces current unsustainable water delivery systems that can serve as a power tool that maintains certain communities in check.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Loginvex is a Colombian startup lead by renown sustainability engineer Juan Carlos Borrero
and Alfredo Roldan, Co-founder of Parquesoft the largest digital development network in Colombia http://www.parquesoft.com. Website is currently under construction but its core business is providing sustainable water transfer and biotech to help develop rural and remote areas across the globe. Tanita Preston, Global outreach advisor and co-founder of Irrazonables Colombia. Local partners of http://Uncharted.org

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Juan Carlos tells his story. Driving in the guajira as a young engineer, he picked up a young mother on the road desperately trying to get her child to a health facility walking under the scorching sun. The child died in his car. Upon arrival to the health facility the diagnosis was severe dehydration resulting from an easily treatable gastrointestinal infection. Since then, his entire body of work has revolved around understanding the unique conditions of water shortages on tropical regions.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The technology does not use electricity or chemicals, does not contaminate any water source or emit a single gram of CO2. Prosperity is brought on by the change in the life of the people served. Besides quenching their thirst, they have the possibility of developing agricultural activities transforming arid lands into productive ones, help mitigate hunger - another severe affliction in the Wayuu community – and develop complementary tourism and craftsmanship activities.

The AEROPURIFER is designed to serve all cultures, all ethnicities and all individuals living in dispersed coastal áreas. A key indicator of the benefit of our work is the significant reduction in gastrointestinal diseases in children and all those who are part of the favored community.

Finally, by giving back control of the water resource to the indigenous communities, we hope to relive a variable that adds to the tension that exist between them and the political and economic powers that govern the region.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We have developed key partnerships with local and national government and active interest of investors focused on water transfer technology.
We have global network acess trough http://Uncharted.org.
We have SGS Switzerland certification
We have started conversations to obtain media media support and outreach partnering with the producers of the documentary film, Alma del Desierto, (See: https://vimeo.com/266128430 PW:GP 2018).
We have full engagement and support of the indigenous communities we work with and a welcomed residential presence in the region for over 4 years.
Our pilot was supported by Unicef

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

First and foremost, we take advantage of the existing infrastructure in the area installed in the 1950's which is familiar to the community, have been protected by the them for decades and allows us to avoid visible disruption to their way of life.
The Wayuu community has a large population of young working age people, desperate for an opportunity to serve their community.
Women in the region are very active in trying to introduce water solutions into their community

Geographic Focus

Colombia, Northern Guajira Region.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

26 months for global partnership building - 12 months for the development and installation of telemetric monitoring system. Full installation of AEROPURIFIER units is an ongoing process but to date we average effective installation of 40 units in a 12-month period which can be optimized and scaled depending on the team size.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

8 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Courtney
Team

This proposal is ingenious. I have been interested in desalination since learning about it in my master's program a few years ago. The right technology, which it sounds like you have, has the potential to change the world. Thanks for your innovativeness and hard work!

My organization works in Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen vulnerable families as well. Our proposal is here: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/nph-onefamily

Thanks!

Photo of Tanita Preston
Team

Hi Courtney,

Thank you very much for your comment. We have been deep into work yoilding our first results and have not been very active on the site, but really appreciate your engagement. We are happy to share our work in more detail and invite you to visit our working sites. Within the work that you do, no doubt you encounter the most basic needs unfulfilled and, like us, fight everyday against injustices that shouls not even be happening in such an interconnected planet. Congratulations on levereging the use of this connectivity to support your work. I realize you fight an uphill battle, but a noble one and one that really needs champions like you and your team. Thanks for the work you do.

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