Vol. 02: MakeShift

It's easy to forget that access to potable water is considered a luxury for much of the world.



+ Downloads & Extras:

The Scenario

It is easy to forget that access to potable water is considered a luxury for most of the world. You are reminded of this fact on a trip to a rural village in East Asia. You learn from the locals that their water supply has been contaminated--the cause of recent illnesses that sound a lot like cholera and dysentary. In addition to dirt, sewage, bacteria and parasites, you suspect other contaminants such as arsenic and benzene from industrial dumping many miles upriver. Ideally, nobody should drink this water--but the villagers are unwilling to relocate.

The Challenge

Create a makeshift solution to filter and purify the water. The solution should be permanent and able to provide drinkable water for 20 to 30 people. Tool and materials at your disposal include materials that can be reasonably extracted from the environment and items on the supply list. You have 48 hours.

Supply List

  • 2 barrels
  • 1 bicycle with flat tires
  • 1 car battery
  • 6 1-liter plastic bottles of water
  • Various lengths of bamboo tubes (1" to 3" diameter)
  • Variety of tools (saw, hammer, pliers, hand drill)
  • Steel wool
  • Endless supply of coconuts
  • $10 in mixed American coins

Send a detailed description of your MakeShift solution with sketches and/or photos to makeshift@makezine.com by July 1. If duplicate solutions are submitted, the winner will be determined by the quality of the explanation and presentation. The most plausible and creative solutions will each win a MAKE T-shirt. Think positive and include your shirt size and contact information with your description. Good luck! For winners' names plus readers' solutions to previous MakeShift challenges, visit makezine.com/makeshift.

Extras

Additional content for this article, available only online.

MakeShift 02: Analysis, Commentary, and Winners

Tragically, the MakeShift 02 challenge is all too plausible: the United Nations estimates that approximately 1.1 billion people in the world are forced to drink from unsafe water sources. That is what this MakeShift challenge is about: applying creativity to solve an important global problem, and educating others as to how it can be done. Thanks to all the MAKE readers who took on this very difficult and important challenge. Here's an analysis of several proposed solutions, and the winning entries for Makeshift 02.
by William Lidwell; August 08, 2005 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 02: Adam Thornton's "Most Plausible" Winning Entry

Adam Thornton's distillation proposal for this challenge wins the prize for "Most Plausible" solution in Makeshift 02.
by William Lidwell; August 08, 2005 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 02: Jesse Crossen's "Most Creative" Winning Entry

Able to identify and leverage the natural filters surrounding the village, Jesse Crossen's solution bypassed the time and complexity of purifying the water and solved the problem straight away.
by William Lidwell; August 08, 2005 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 02: Vinnie Forgione's "Schmutzdecke" Honorable Mention

Vinnie Forgione suggested a straightforward sand filter with a more feasible way of making activated charcoal in a two-day time period.
by William Lidwell; August 08, 2005 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 02: "A.A.B. Bussy" Honorable Mention by M. Cowell, N. Cain, B. Park, and B. Carroll

This group effort by Mac Cowell, Nick Cain, Barratt Park, and Brandon Carroll includes dissolving iron in the mix as an interesting way to deal with the arsenic.
by William Lidwell; August 08, 2005 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 02: Mark Kissler's "Eichhorina Crassipes" Honorable Mention

Mark Kissler's entry showed great analysis, approach, design, and presentation. The addition of the water hyacinth virtually eliminates the need for activated charcoal, which makes this approach robust.
by William Lidwell; August 08, 2005 | Technorati | del.icio.us

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