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Bricks, cement, PVC piping and gravel: the list of materials necessary to build a gravity-powered water treatment plant is impressively short. In this audio interview, Sheela Sethuraman talks to Daniel Smith, Project Coordinator for AguaClara, about strategies, innovations, and their recent recognition as the Tech Awards 2011 laureate of the Intel Environment Award. Starting in 2006, AguaClara partnered with Agua Para el Pueblo in Honduras to leverage gravity rather than costly and unreliable electricity to provide for the water treatment needs in small villages. The result was a community-scale innovation that can provide potable water at less that .01 cent/liter. With successful communication between neighboring communities, AguaClara has spread across Honduras, and hopes to cross into neighboring countries like Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador in the near future.
The 21st century needs to harness the power of water, and the battered coastal city of New Orleans may just have the goods to do it.