RainCloud: Water Conserving Hand Sanitation Device
Conserving 95% of water resources, RainCloud is a passive hand washing device designed for use in areas without water infrastructure.
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
2.7 billion of the world’s population have limited access to water. By 2025 it is projected 66% of the world’s population will face water shortages. Without water, sanitation decreases while diseases increase; two million people die annually from dysentery. By engineering an inexpensive water-conserving device, I am addressing one of the United Nations' Global Goals and starting a revolution in hygiene to decrease the prevalence of disease and unnecessary death.
As a reaction to Katherine Boo’s narrative of life in slums, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, I designed, prototyped, and tested six generations of RainCloud to provide a universal sanitary system which does not require water infrastructure to be used effectively. Made simply from bar plastic and machined to be press fitted into any 2 liter bottle, serving as the refillable water source, RainCloud passively creates a seal upon the removal of pressure to stop water flow.
This device could be used 1) in areas where handwashing is neglected because of lack of infrastructure or need to conserve water resources, 2) to provide hand washing devices for emergency kits, 3) in disaster zones with disrupted water infrastructure, or a myriad of other uses. Having uploaded the design drawings (at sustainableraincloud.blogspot.com), I invited national and worldwide organizations (United Nations, World Health Organization, European Union, Red Cross, Peace Corps) to make or contact me for at-cost devices for distribution.
People living in areas with limited water access, like refugee camps or disaster zones, are less likely to wash their hands, preferring to drink their water resources instead. While hydration is necessary for sustaining life, bacteria spread by a lack of sanitation kills 2 million individuals annually. Diarrhea, the most dangerous disease in slums, is preventable. If RainCloud was implemented as an universal sanitary system, then millions of lives could be saved worldwide every year.
HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?
Handwashing with unclean water is uneffective. By partnering with the myriad of nonprofit and supranational organizations, who provide freshwater wells or water purifying systems to areas without clean water access, RainCloud could improve living standards worldwide.
Slum residents should be included in implementation of RainCloud, ensuring this low-tech solution truly fits their needs, and can be adapted into their daily lives, allowing them to move beyond surviving towards thriving.
A crucial, yet challenging, component of the engineering process is establishing a design criteria: requiring the understanding a need, considering best practice design principles, and what must be minimally fulfilled for product success. After reading about the World Health Organization (WHO) attempt to create water infrastructure in slums, which failed due to 1) the expense of building and maintaining water amenities and 2) to eviction of slum dwellers by property owners, I decided I needed to include transportable and inexpensive in my design criteria to avoid the same issues WHO had experienced. To be effective in the slum environment, I also I wanted RainCloud to be reusable and conserve water without leaking. Finally, after six generations of RainCloud, my design criteria was met: conserving 95% of water compared to traditional faucets, using a transportable 2 liter bottle as the water source, fabricated inexpensively from bar plastic and machined simply to decrease production cost, and being able to be used constantly and refilled without compromising the integrity of the design.
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for less than one year
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I am a girl scout, a high school senior, and a global citizen. As I graduate, I want to be prepared to pursue a higher education to design a more sustainable future by networking with other professionals and individuals who are innovating solutions with limited means to thrive in slums worldwide.