Friday, 12 August 2011

SCM 24 at home in the “Museo del Agua”

Our SCM 24 has been installed in the Museo del Agua in the Valley of Tehuacan, Puebla. Here are pictures from the fantastic day.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Passing by Evian

Being in the water business, we felt it would be fun to bring you some photos from one of the most famous "water cities" in the world, Evian in France.

View Larger Map

A view over the lake towards Switzerland

The following images are from the Evian museum in the city.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Our Mobile Water Treatment Solution in Video

Our mobile water treatment solution is sometimes to good to be true for some people, therefore we made a short video clip from our R&D facility which shows a Swiss Cleanwater Machine being moved around:

If you want to read more about our mobile water treatment solutions

Monday, 23 May 2011

Donation to "Water Forever" Project in Mexico

Swiss Cleanwater Group has donated one of its' unique water treatment machines to Agua Para Siempre.

The donation has been established in cooperation with Raúl Hernández Garciadiego, Director of Grupo Alternativas, winner of the first edition of the national contest Iniciativa México for his project “Agua para Siempre".

Read the press release here:

Swiss Cleanwater Group Donates Water Treatment System to “Water Forever” Project

Visit Agua para Siempre

This video shows more about the Agua para Siempre Project

This video shows some of Raúl's achievements in Mexico

This video shows the winning project of Inicitiva Mexico

Thursday, 28 April 2011

5 challenges to getting water treatment to the people who need it the most

There are millions of people without access to clean drinking water, yet some of these people are even harder to reach due to a number of factors. There are 5 key challenges in getting water treatment technologies to the most remote communities, they are:

1. How to reach them?
2. Who pays?
3. Do the conditions permit water treatment?
4. How to attain effective distribution?
5. What happens after installation?

1. Reaching the people who need water the most
Even though communication and information sharing has been made easier by the Internet and the World Wide Web, it is still not accessible in many areas where more basic needs must be met. Matching the appropriate technology with the community that has water treatment needs is therefore a big challenge. On one hand it can be challenging for an organization to locate the remotest of locations, and on the other hand it is a challenge for the local communities to reach the organizations.

Solution: Many charitable organizations work at the local level and have the proper information channels established in order to address the issue.

2. Who pays for the systems?
Money is often a big hindrance in purchasing water treatment systems in what is considered poorer communities. In the short run, investments can be too heavy a burden on these communities, and therefore the technology never reaches the people who need it. This ironic situation places organizations in a sticky dilemma as their technology is able to solve one of the most pressing global matters, yet it is still a fact that production comes at a cost.

Solution: Micropayments, credits and funding.'s water credits are a very good example of trying to overcome this obstacle.

3. Is it feasible to install a system in the local environment?
Water needs may be one thing, and whether or not there is sufficient electricity to power water treatment systems is another. Some systems require extreme amounts of electricity, however there are some solutions that can function at much lower levels of consumption. Another problem can be the terrain and conditions of the environment. Some systems require controlled environments if they are to achieve anywhere near their prescribed levels of water purity.

Solution: Solar powered water treatment systems are a solution which can be powerful enough to treat water for a whole community. The only obstacle is the local weather.

4. Effective Distribution
The water crisis is a global phenomenon, requiring efforts from a network that spans most of the globe if there is to be any chance of changing the grim trends. This global network needs to engage local enthusiasts that have the persistence in trying to connect buyers and sellers of water treatment. It is not as simple as going to a global charity organization and saying "Hey, we have this great machine. It will solve all water treatment needs. How many do you need in each country?". If only that was possible...

Solution: Networks of individuals that have the reach, persistence and engagement in local communities in order to establish appropriate distribution relationships between companies and purchasing bodies.

5. What happens after installation?
Unfortunately, many organizations install a machine and get out once the initial sale is completed. This leaves a community with a useless machine, that nobody knows how to operate. Then there is also maintenance of the machine. What relationship is established in order to ensure that the machine is a long term investment, rather than a one-off cost. Finally, who administers the distribution of water?

Solution: Providing a proper education with any water treatment system is a must, else it would be much like providing a first time computer user with a laptop and no instruction book, telling them to go to the internet and download a brochure. That would never end well. Maintenance needs to be planned, as some systems require more maintenance than others, while some locations may also require more often maintenance due to a high level of TDS. Lastly, a community that suddenly has direct access to clean water changes its usage patterns, and therefore usage needs to be administrated to make sure that spoiling activity does not occur.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Water Kiosk

During a recent outing in Paris, a small wooden "house" appeared after a walk on the "Promenade Plantée". People were gathered around the little "house" with their empty water bottles waiting for their turn. What was this?

It was a water kiosk where people could get access to clean drinking water. This brilliant concept was obviously working very well which could be seen by the many people coming for refills. So if such a system is installed in a developed city like Paris, imagine the potential benefit of such a set up in countries where clean drinking water is not as easy to come by.

The idea of water kiosks has been around for many years but what has stopped the spreading of them? Funding? Lack of Use?

At Swiss Cleanwater Group we are constantly trying to innovate, and apply our water treatment technology in applications where the most people will have a significant benefit. At the time of writing, we are awaiting the completion of a site in San Diego where one of our first water kiosks will be placed. Something we are looking forward to tremendously. We expect the system to be used for refilling of large gallon containers due to the low water quality in the surrounding area. Behind the scenes the water kiosk will be powered by a SCM60 which can produce 60.000 liters of clean drinking water per day.

We see many benefits of such a system:
1. It will provide easy access to clean drinking water.
2. It will reduce the need to buy bottled water.
3. The cost per liter will be much more affordable than going to the store to buy countless plastic bottles.

We expect to have our first of many water kiosks running, in cooperation with local heroes that aim to improve the quality of life for many people, in the near future. We will be showing the very aesthetically pleasant looking kiosk within a short time. Until then enjoy the pictures from Paris, and imagine what such a system could do outside a modernized capital.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Is drinking water in danger after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima?

The recent nuclear accident caused by the earthquake in Japan has sent rippling aftershocks into drinking water.

The partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant has caused water contamination in the surrounding community. Parents in Japan have also been warned that infants should not be drinking water from the taps. The mixed message that has been conveyed as that children under the age of one should not be drinking tapwater, however people are beginning to question what would happen to their two and three year olds.

The disaster has already had its effects on the food chain, where milk found 20 miles from the plant has shown traces of contamination.

The United Kingdom is also sending emergency water supplies to the stricken areas where many supermarkets have empty shelves, previously filled with bottled water.

In Boston, Massachussets, traces of the dangerous compound radioiodine-131 has been found in rainwater which is said to be very low, and not dangerous, but it demonstrates how far the pollution has the ability to travel.

There are fortunately solutions to treat water for uranium, and other radioactive materials so that the contaminated drinking water can become clean drinking water once again. Read our about our treatment of contaminated drinking water.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Summing up the World Water Week 2011

As many of you know, last week was World Water Week. Around the world different activities were undertaken to create more awareness about water, and the global water crisis.

Here are some of the most impressive intiatives:

The Levi's Water Tank application on Facebook that lets Fans complete simple challenges to unlock water donations to places without clean drinking water. Link to App

UNICEF's program Tap Project motivated restaurants to get $1 donations for the tap water that they usually offer for free, and according to UNICEF, one dollar = forty days of safe clean water for a child.

A more cheeky approach has been a celebrity tap campaign, also by UNICEF, is stabbing at the bottled water brands. It works in the way that people can donate $5 and have the chance to win 4 bottles of water from the taps of famous people such as Rihanna and Taylor Swift.

See more on the Tap Project here: Link

The river Seine in Paris was dyed green to mark the World Water Day: Link to Image

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Five Reasons You Should Be Choosing Tap water Instead of Bottled Water

Bottled water is overrated. You are often paying more money for bottled water, which is simply tap water that has been put in a bottle with a fancy label on it. Many of the bottled water companies promise purer water, with more minerals and better health. This has increased demand tremendously for bottled water and in the US, the bottled water industry was estimated to have a value of $60 billion (USD)

Read the Paradox of Fiji bottled water

1. Higher price and often worse quality
Water is a natural resource which is freely available to most of the people on earth at a minimal cost. It is still astonishing to see the amount of bottled water being sold in the US considering that the price is 10.000 times that of its municipal counterpart - tap water. In reality, all water is "healthy" as long as it doesn't possess high levels of harmful contaminants, which tap water does not. Many studies have compared tap water with bottled water

See the ABC 20/20 documentary showing now differences between bottled and tap water : Link

2. The environment

The biggest environmental problems caused by bottled water are the plastic PET bottles. Did you know that between 32-54 million barrels of oil is used to produce 33 billion liters of bottled water. A recent study (Gleick & Cooley) which documents this also estimates that the energy needed to produce bottled water accounts for about one-third of one percent of total US energy consumption. They cost a lot of energy to produce, estimated at 2.000 times the amount of energy to produce the equivalent amount of tap water.

Water bottles are only sometimes recycled. Unfortunately almost all plastic bottles for water are currently made from virgin PET, so people trying to convince you that everything is being recycled is not telling you the truth. According to a NAPCOR study, the recycling rate for water bottles is 23.4% whilst water bottles account for about 50% of all PET bottles and containers picked up by roadside trash recycling.

The story of bottled water (MUST SEE!): Link

3. Bigger Chance of Harmful Chemicals in Bottled Water
In a recent NRDC study, where 22 percent of bottled water brands were tested, at least one sample of  contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits. The problem in the United States is that the bottled water is regulated by the FDA, whereas the EPA regulates the quality of tap water. The EPA has set maximum contaminant levels for approximately 90 contaminants which if discovered will be reported immediately to prevent any damages. On the contrary, bottled water contamination rarely reaches the public, as would it if it had been public drinking water. The companies making a living out of selling bottled water have an image to uphold, and damaging information is likely to be guarded fiercely.

4. Higher Chance of Estrogenic Chemical Pollution
Another study, conducted by the Goethe University at Frankfurt found that a high percentage of the bottled water in plastic containers was polluted with estrogenic chemicals.  Some of the bottled water contained in glass were also found to be polluted with chemicals as well, but the researchers believe the contamination of water in the plastic containers to come from the plastic containers. Leaching of chemicals into the water is related to the plastic bottles being exposed to either cold and high temperatures.

These estrogenic chemicals have now also been found in fish as we continue to pollute our waters. Read more about what these chemicals are doing to fish here: Link

5. Is bottled water just treated tap water?
Some bottled water companies just purify municipal tap water and bottle it. According to the following CNN video, up to 25% of bottled water is actually just purified tap water, and sometimes it is not even purified!

See the CNN Video: Link

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Critique of Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (R.O.) is one of the most renowned water treatment solutions available on the market. From afar R.O. is a wonderful system that has been instrumental in the challenge of providing clean drinking water for everyone. However taking a closer look at R.O., there are some clear indicators that the system is not a sustainable solution in the long run for curing the water crisis.

Issue 1 - Maintenance
Reverse Osmosis systems require a lot of maintenance in order to retain high quality water output. There are many aspects of the R.O. system that mus be maintained, serviced and changed in order to retain high water purity. If not done, then membrane fouling and breakdown may occur. Another concern is that most of the systems have a holding tank that must be cleaned out regularly to prevent growth of bacteria.

Issue 2 - Fouling and Breakdown of Membranes
As described in Issue 1, R.O. machines require a lot of expensive maintenance, and if this is not scheduled properly then membranes may break down or begin to foul, resulting in water that smells so bad that it would keep people from drinking it. To solve this, new membranes have to be bought repeatedly adding to the operational costs, and the system needs to be cleaned to keep from fouling. Some manufacturers state that membranes last for several years, the fact is that they do not.

Issue 3 - Level of Water Purity
R.O. machines claim that they remove around 98-99% of all organic chemicals, whereas a simple carbon filter will do the exact same (and cost you much less). After a few months of operation, this percentage will fall to around 50-80%. Purity levels stated by manufacturers are rarely met in environments outside the laboratory, which means that when put to work the water will not meet the specified quality.

Issue 4 - Reverse Osmosis is Extremely Slow
The Reverse Osmosis process is very slow compared to its relatively large size system. If the situation requires quick response and output then R.O. is not the ideal choice.

Issue 5 - Reverse Osmosis uses a lot of Electricity
The Reverse Osmosis system places heavy demands on electricity in order to provide clean drinking water. A system which is supposed to improve environmental conditions is essentially offsetting its pollution in another form, which does not improve the carbon footprint of users.

See an electricity comparison with another solution

Issue 6 - Reverse Osmosis uses Chemicals to Clean Water
Reverse Osmosis needs chemicals in order to treat drinking water, these chemicals not only cost a lot of money, they are also bad for health and the environment. Here is a list of a few chemicals that a typical R.O. unit may use: membrane antiscalants and scale inhibitors, membrane preservatives, cleaners, biocides and disinfectants, flocculants, corrosion inhibitors, and de-chlorinators. Mostly, all of the disinfectants except chlorine are expensive, however chlorine is not recommended due to its property of reacting with organic contaminants and generating toxic by-products.

Issue 7 - Reverse Osmosis Wastes a Lot of Water
The objective of a water treatment system is to clean water, not to waste it. It is roughly estimated that a Reverse Osmosis machines wastes 3 gallons of water for every gallon it produces. This inefficiency not only means wasted time, but also a lot more electricity and pollution.

Issue 8 - Must be Compatible with the Water Supply
The R.O. system must be matched to the incoming water supply in order to obtain high levels of purity. This means that whether or not the water is already chlorinated and can often have associated installation costs for the buyer.

Issue 9 - Reverse Osmosis Concentrates Dangerous Chemicals
An American Medical Association (AMA) publication has found that Reverse Osmosis was found to concentrate dangerous heavy metals mercury and aluminium, which can be linked with extensive neurological disorders. Nearly every municipal water system uses aluminum compounds in water treatment process.

Issue 10 - Reverse Osmosis units cannot filter out pharmaceuticals
An increasing problem is the pharmaceuticals in drinking water. Unfortunately, R.O. systems cannot filter out these small molecules as they simple pass through the porous membranes of the R.O. filter meaning that it ends up in the final water product.

See a video describing the pharmaceuticals in water

Issue 11 - Creates acidic water & strips minerals
Reverse osmosis, like distillation, creates fairly acidic water, and it also strips the water of important minerals. Additionally, it is contended that R/O destabilizes the molecular structure of water.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Good Water Hunting

How can the message effectively be spread? Today there are many attempts at spreading the news about the rising global water crisis, but people taking water for granted rarely pay attention. Social media is often thought of as a great medium for spreading messages, but without any apparent kickback value for the user, your message will not gain any snowball effect. We continue to spread the word about clean water treatment solutions, but it seems no one is willing to listen, why should they if it does not affect them? Before Christmas we even hosted a competition asking people to participate in a quiz, and the winner would be able to make a donation on behalf of the company to the third world. In the end, a water catastrophe pack was donated to India. Only about 3-5% of our "following" participated even considering that their actions could benefit people who needed the help.

Fortunately, there are some passionate people out there with a bigger voice. Today, people with far reach, due to their popularity often promote or spread the word about a good cause. Recently, Matt Damon (who starred in "Good Will Hunting") gave a compelling interview about the water crisis.

See the full interview:

He even describes a water well in Ethiopia where kids are pulling water out that is the same color as chocolate milk. This water is what kids bring to school, and often it can be so dangerous to drink that deaths result from it. According to, a child dies every 20 seconds from water related diseases - an extremely scary figure.

The video then discusses what has been called WaterCredits which is basically a small loan that lets people without clean water, get a direct source of water into their home instead of having to walk to a well. The loan is often repaid at a high rate, and seems to be the way forward in some of these communities.

It is good to see some of these famous people using their star status to spread goodwill messages rather than just promoting the latest perfume or handbag.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Global Water Crisis


Most of us take water for granted on a daily basis. In the morning we wake up, wash our face, drink a cup of coffee, rinse fresh fruit, clean our dirty dishes, take a shower, brush our teeth and on some occasions we remember to drink a part of our daily recommendation of 2.5 Liters of water. We have not been awake for more than a couple of hours, and already we have completed some of our everyday tasks that we take for granted.

See: 11 million people without access to clean water in Mexico

Unfortunately, this scenario cannot be shared by everyone. Today there are over 880 million people lacking access to clean, healthy drinking water. That is roughly 1 out of every 8 people on the planet. An astonishing number, which will only increase as we continue to place heavy demands on our depleting planet. The increased industrial activity of the BRIC countries has not only increased the amount of pollution that our environment must deal with, but it also increases demand of its' people on the local water resources.

See also this article: Global Water Crisis

This increasing global challenge of providing clean, healthy drinking water is becoming a more pressing matter. Something needs to be done.

Fortunately, there are some technologies out there that will help future generations get access to clean water. Something we will look closer at in the coming days.