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Water filters developed to meet needs of low-income families in Africa and Southeast Asia
This month, three Chinese manufacturers began selling new, low-cost household water filters that were developed using PATH’s design guidelines. All of the new products deliver user-centered design, standardization and affordable performance.
The most important feature of these new water filters is the C1 common interface, which accepts any C1-compatible replacement filter element, allowing users to shop for replacement filter elements on the open market.
PATH developed its design guidelines, which specify the C1 interface, after nearly three years of research among low-income households in India, Cambodia and parts of Africa. It then tested the guidelines by developing a prototype reference filter and field testing it in India in 2010.
In February 2011, PATH shared its design guidelines globally and offered technical support to three water filter manufacturers in China to develop new products that would meet the needs of low-income families in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. To do so, the products feature intuitive assembly, easy maintenance, appealing look and feel, and durable materials. One of the available filter elements sets a new price-performance benchmark for low-cost gravity-flow ceramic filters, removing more than 99.99% of bacteria.
Working independently of one another, each of the three manufacturers came up with their own products. Together, they make up a new family of household water filters geared specifically for the low-income user. “We appreciate the commitment our Chinese partners have shown over the past two years. Product choices are likely to expand in the years to come as more companies adopt the C1 common interface and follow PATH’s design standards,” said Pat Lennon, group leader for PATH’s product development team. “With the C1 interface, users have increased choice in devices and filter elements and manufacturers have a new foundation for innovation. We are very hopeful that our design standards can pave the way for more innovation at the low-cost end of the market.”
Specifications for both the devices and the replaceable filter elements are available from PATH under the terms of a standard, no-cost license. Information on design guidelines, no-cost license, manufacturers or their products is available on the water program website.