Skydration Turns Kenyan Rain Water Into Drinking Water

Young engineers are testing their Skydration water collection system in Kenya.

During the end of high school Jimmy Reddy developed an interest in water accessibility and worked to develop ideas about rainwater collection in temperate areas. Kenya was chosen as the testing location based on its climate and rainfall estimated between 20 and 100 centimeters per year. Back of envelope calculations showed that even the driest regions and a 10 x 20 foot roof could provide a family of four with 85 percent of their drinking water in a year. Current barriers to household water collection in Kenya are high costs, product delivery, and risk of contamination. Reddy, along with Dan Wagner, Andrew Pluff, Zach Hennes, and Joseph Reznikov created a company called Current Solutions NPC to build water collection units and address water accessibility issues in Kenya. The team is running a Kickstarter funding campaign for the project.

The system catches water from a rooftop and instead of a downspout uses a hose connection inside the gutter to move the water down a tube and through a filtration filter. The filter removes particulate matter and mosquito larva from the water. Iodine pills are also recommended for users to remove harmful effects for end users. The hose drains into a five gallon jerry can and when full moves the water through a chain of cans. Five five gallon cans are recommended by Current for a family of four. Goals for this design were that the project cost would be less than $20 for a household, weigh less than 10 pounds, and fit into a grocery bag.

Current has been testing this system since 2016 and they hope that more data from a May 2019 trip to Kenya will allow them to publish a white paper and share their knowledge base with water charities like Water with Blessings and Charity: Water. My view of solving the world’s big engineering problems like water access is that we’ll need several small solutions before the issue is fully addressed. The Current Skydration system looks like further testing and data collection will be a push in the right direction – the project would definitely benefit from more technical details, a shiny Kickstarter video, and a web presence beyond Facebook and Instagram. I’m signed up to get a copy of the whitepaper when published, and look forward to watching Current in the future. The campaign is not yet successful and ends on May 8, 2019.