Realizing how much Americans take water access for granted, University of Pennsylvania alums Aakash Makur and Jay Parekh began discussing a plan to raise awareness. They wanted to both raise awareness and help under-served areas address the problem. This combined initiative produced the Hydros Bottle, a reusable water bottle equipped with a filtering device. Makur developed the idea as part of a class project on alternatives to wasteful, single-use bottled water. The full concept was realized when he paired with Parekh, who had been working on water issues as president of the Penn Chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA. The Hydros bottle was designed in response to consumer needs revealing a sleek, light-weight, quick-filtering bottle perfect for on-the-go, everyday use. The commercial element is what the team uses to fund their water access arm, Operation Hydros, using proceeds from the purchase of every Hydros Bottle. The contribution from each unit sold accounts for about 2,000 gallons of clean drinking water in the developing world.
The initiative recently began its first spring water distribution project in Gundom, Cameroon, which is miles from a water source. In recent years worldwide organizations have tackled clean water needs, but Parekh explains that these endeavors often end up underutilized because they aren't executed with the community's specific needs in mind. Operation Hydros relies on "sustainable development" to assure the long-term success of their projects. At the start of a new project they form a local "water committee" composed of community leaders that manages all aspects of the project, as well as the long-term maintenance. The Hydros team hope to eventually establish a portfolio of ongoing efforts, allowing the consumer to personally allocate donations to specific projects.
In addition to their goals they are set on making every business decision within an ecologically and socially sustainable framework. All manufacturing is done in the tri-state area, reducing their carbon footprint, supporting the local economy and ensuring quality control.
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Water Facts from Water.org
1. Poor people living in the slums often pay five to ten times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city
2. 3.575 million people die each year from water-related diseases
3. 884 million people lack access to safe water; that's approximately one eighth of the world population