News Feature | August 27, 2015

New Water Chlorinator Could Save 1.5 Million Children

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,


What if the technology to provide developing countries with clean water was smaller than a bedside nightstand?

That is the premise of the Zimba batch chlorinator, one of the inventions recently recognized in the Innovation Countdown 2030 compiled by public health and innovation nonprofit PATH.

“Zimba's automated chlorinator fits onto community taps and hand pumps, automatically making up to 8,000 liters of water drinkable before needing a refill. The best part: it has no easily breakable moving parts, and doesn't require electricity. So far, it's been tested in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal,” Tech Insider reported.

According to NPR, estimates show that this device could save over 1.5 million children’s lives between 2015 and 2030. Here’s the nitty gritty of how it works, per the report:

This device is essentially a large box — about the height of a bedside nightstand but much thinner — preloaded with chlorine that can be hooked up to a water source. The pressure of the incoming water triggers the release of the right amount of sodium hypochlorite solution — that's basically bleach — to get rid of harmful microorganisms. The freshly chlorinated water flows out from the tap.

The device can be hooked to most water sources, from hand-pumps to water faucets, within 30 minutes. The downside of traditional ways of chlorinating water with tablets is that people might forget to follow through. No way that'll happen with Zimba.

Developed in India, the invention is essentially a small-scale water treatment device.

“And it’s a rugged device that sits directly on a hand pump or community tap that then can automatically chlorinate water,” PATH Senior Program Officer Claudia Harner-Jay said, per VOA News.

The inaccessibility of clean water is a global crisis as some statistics published by the non-profit WaterAid indicate:

  • 650 million people in the world don't have access to safe water.
  • 2.3 billion people don't have access to adequate sanitation, one in three of the world's population.
  • More than 500,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. That's over 1,400 children a day.

Similar stories can be found at Water Online’s Drinking Water Disinfection Solutions Center.

Image credit: "India - Rural - 02 - water source," McKay Savage © 2008, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: