Solar Stills!!

Students in Majuro’s Life Skills Academy (LSA) are generating fresh water from seawater by building solar stills.

FEW LOTS kids w solar still

Here’s a completed still, below.

solar still-DL design

About 5 – 8 gallons of seawater goes in the black trays. Solar energy does the rest.

By evaporation and condensation, at the end of a day, about 1/2 – 1 gallon of fresh water has collected in the bottom.

A simple design that advances self-sustainability!

This is part of our Water for Life supplemental grant – Food, Energy, & Water: Leveraging and Organizing Toward Self-sustainability (FEW-LOTS) – from the National Science Foundation.

Thanks to:

  • Dr. Koh Ming Wei
  • Our collaborators at LSA, Marshall Islands High School, and the College of the Marshall Islands
  • And especially to Dustin Langidrik and his students from the University of the South Pacific for teaching our LSA students how to make these


Check out this new point-of-use water disinfection technology!

MadiDrops –  see – are simple to use and inexpensive.

Just put one of these silver-infused porous ceramic tablets in ~2.5 gallons of water.

Wait overnight. The pathogens have all been killed.

Pour off the now clean water to use for drinking, washing, etc.

Repeat each day for 6 months, using the same, single MadiDrop.

Cost: ~$5 per MadiDrop.


How I Take Care of Myself

Chuuk book

A few months ago, the Water for Life Core Team in Chuuk, in collaboration with partners from the Pacific islands Climate Education Partnership, Island Research and Education Initiative, and Chuuk State Department of Education, put together WfL’s first education product aimed specifically at very young readers – a Chuukese book titled “Ifa Ussun Aai Tumwunuuw Inisi” (How I Take Care of Myself). This small tome highlights the importance of water in children’s daily routines.

Catching Up!

WfL Hndbk coverWow! Can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything new here! Apologies to those who may have been checking in and not finding new information.

One big item from the past year has been the publication of our new Water for Life Handbook. We’ve distributed nearly 3,000 of these around the region – helpful to anyone in the Pacific Island region who wants to know more about our water issues.

More updates coming soon!

Innovative Water Purification Technology

The following abstract describes an exciting new development that could, eventually, enhance access to clean drinking water in our islands. We’ll keep you updated on how this technology progresses.

Porous Ceramic Tablet Embedded with Silver Nanopatches for Low-Cost Point-of-Use Water Purification

Beeta Ehdaie , Carly Krause , and James A. Smith *

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, United States

Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (23), pp 13901–13908

DOI: 10.1021/es503534c

Publication Date (Web): November 11, 2014

This work describes a novel method to embed silver in ceramic porous media in the form of metallic silver nanopatches. This method has been applied to develop a new POU technology, a silver-infused ceramic tablet that provides long-term water disinfection. The tablet is fabricated using clay, water, sawdust, and silver nitrate. When dropped into a household water storage container, the ceramic tablet releases silver ions at a controlled rate that in turn disinfect microbial pathogens. Characterization of the silver-embedded ceramic media was performed using transmission electron microscopy. Spherical-shaped patches of metallic silver were observed at 1–6 nm diameters and confirmed to be silver with energy dispersive spectroscopy. Disinfection experiments in a 10 L water volume demonstrated a 3 log reduction of Escherichia coli within 8 h while silver levels remained below the World Health Organization drinking water standard (0.1 mg/L). Silver release rate varied with clay mineralogy, sawdust particle size, and initial silver mass. Silver release was repeatable for daily 10 L volumes for 154 days. Results suggest the ceramic tablet can be used to treat a range of water volumes. This technology shows great potential to be a low-cost, simple-to-use water treatment method to provide microbiologically safe drinking water at the household level.