While water scarcity gets a lot of attention, simply transporting this vital resource is in itself a huge dilemma. Women spend around 200 million hours a day hauling clean water around, and just 16 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to it in their homes. WaterVest is a wearable bladder designed to lighten the load, allowing users to carry several days' worth of water for a family in a single trip.
The reusable WaterVest costs around the same as a heavy-duty plastic bag to produce, and is made from recyclable plastics. It is designed to evenly distribute the load across the user's body and comes as a one-size-fits-all vest, with the idea being that it can be filled to match the wearer's comfort, be they big or small.
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At full capacity, the WaterVest can transport 40 liters (10.5 US gal) at a time, which the developers say is enough for a family of four for four days. It self-seals to prevent contaminants entering the supply, and can be filled and emptied without the use of utensils. This prevents "double-dipping" and therefore, the spread of germs and infectious diseases.
The team says that the idea of WaterVest is not to replace the provision of clean water, but to augment it. The trips saved using the bladder in place of water bottles, buckets or jerry cans could prevent injury and add up to millions of hours, the team says – valuable time that could instead be used for more productive pursuits like education.
With several prototypes already developed, the team is looking to raise funds on Indiegogo to produce a small batch to test in the field. From there, it will refine the design and use the money to analyze the data collected from users in order to optimize the design. Pledges for a WaterVest prototype start at US$50.
You can check out the pitch video below.