HTI water filters help relief efforts during Kenyan flooding
Hydration Technology Innovations, LLC (HTI) has delivered thousands of HydroPack emergency water filters to flood-ravaged Western Kenya.
Flooding along the Nzoia River has left thousands of homes and small farms under water. The HydroPacks 10x to 18x logistics savings in weight and cube, as compared to bottled water, enabled transport by canoe, motorcycle and bicycle, allowing delivery into camps that were not receiving any other aid due to the lack of road access.
The HydroPack filters water using the natural process of forward osmosis. Each single-use pouch contains an osmotic charge (nutrient powder containing sugars and electrolytes) that is activated when the pouch is placed in any contaminated water source.
The osmotic charge draws contaminated water through the forward osmosis membrane, which in the case of the HydroPack, is its packaging. After a period of 10-12 hours, the pouch is full and ready to drink, delivering clean hydration and 120 calories.
The area that is experiencing the floodwaters was the site of a HydroPack demonstration pilot funded jointly by Eastman Chemical and HTI in January of 2011. The area was originally chosen for the pilot due to the constant flooding they experience, oftentimes annually. The flood has ravaged the homes and livelihoods of some 25,000 people, leaving them homeless and scattered across 11 camps in the area of Mudimbia and Port Victoria.
“There is such high demand for the HydroPack here,” says Assistant Chief Kudombi. “Everybody is asking for it and word is spreading quickly. Not only does it clean the water and make it safe, it gives my people energy which is very important right now.”
“Flooded latrines and dead animals mean the bacteria count is very high in the water, which is also very muddy. Those are difficult conditions for water filters. But the HydroPack is ideal for this situation because of its simplicity, high purity and ability to work in muddy water."
"The training is very short, and sufficient know-how quickly spread through the camps, so we see a very high degree of proper use immediately,” says Nathan Jones, Humanitarian Specialist of HTI, who witnessed the distribution.
The HydroPacks were purchased through donations by employees of Eastman Chemical and HTI. “We wanted to give something back to the community that received us so graciously during our pilot demonstration earlier this year,” explained Keith Lampi, COO of HTI. “Because this area of Kenya is prone to flooding, we wanted to make sure there was a supply of HydroPacks for future use. We’re just sorry that future came so soon.”