Aquabox

The Problem

Less than 1% of all water throughout the world is safe and available for human consumption.

Fresh water for drinking and food preparation is increasingly threatened due to our changing environment, and demand has intensified after vast population growth and the development of mega-cities internationally.
 
Disasters come in many forms; earthquake, cyclone, flood, refugee displacement, famine – but they all share a common factor. That is, the most urgent requirement is the supply of safe drinking water. The lack of, or disruption to safe water or sanitation creates an ideal breeding ground for water borne diseases. Cholera and Typhoid are the most virulent of these, but often the problem can be a simple infection causing diarrhea that leads to dehydration. This is particularly apparent for children where 25,000 children die every day from the effects of polluted water (Water-Aid Charity).
 

AQUABOX - The Solution

The AQUABOX comprises three simple components:
A rigid re-inforced 75 litre plastic container, a re-useable carbon activated filter and dispensing tap. The container is filled with whatever water can be found locally and is initially strained manually through a muslin to remove solid material. Two purification tablets (effervescent chlorine release type) are then added. After 2 hours, potable water may be drawn through the filter and tap. Many of the outbreaks of disease and infection which commonly follow disasters are as a direct result of drinking polluted water and the bacilli contained therein. These can rapidly cause epidemics such as Typhoid and Cholera but can be simply and easily rendered harmless when correctly treated in the AQUABOX.

In many regions of the world, particularly in the absence of deep?well installations, the AQUA30 version is frequently used on a long term basis. This can combat endemic diseases such as Bilharzia.

Though simple and 'user friendly' the AQUABOX, is normally only released 'into the field' under the supervision of experienced agencies. It is always accompanied by a 'language free pictogram' manual. In most cases an Aquabox is also filled with humanitarian aid.

About Us

Aquabox (Australia) is a project of the Rotary Club of Eltham, it provides emergency relief to people affected by disaster by sending essential provisions to devastated areas around the world. These boxes provide people in need with the basic humanitarian aid and, most importantly, clean, drinking water.

Aquabox Beginnings

Aquabox was founded by the Rotary Club of Wirksworth UK, which was involved in providing assistance to disaster areas by dispatching plywood boxes filled with emergency supplies.

In 1990, the club identified an opportunity to extend the use of the relief boxes by constructing them out of stronger materials. In addition to its original packaging purpose, the new, plastic box could be also used by disaster-affected communities for storage, furniture, etc. and, with the addition of a tap and purification system, it could be used to create drinking water from polluted supplies.

The Aquabox was finally launched in October 1992 and now operates in UK, Australia and Canada to provide emergency relief around the world. Since then, tens of thousands of boxes have been dispatched to areas affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods etc., as well as war-torn countries.

Aquabox Australia

In 1999, on a visit to the UK, a member of the Rotary Club of Eltham learnt of the Aquabox project and was inspired to establish a similar charity in Australia. The Rotary Club of Eltham took up the cause and established Aquabox (Australia). Initially, Aquabox (Australia) used the boxes designed by the Rotary Club of Wirksworth but have since developed, in conjunction with AusAID and other aid agencies, an Aquabox more suited to our region.

Aquabox (Australia) is a project of the Rotary Club of Eltham and exists with the generous support of Rotary Clubs, individuals, private and public organisations and groups.

A Growing Need

Unfortunately, there is a growing need for disaster relief and Aquabox has also been growing. As awareness of Aquabox has spread, demand has risen and Aquabox has been able to provide assistance to more and more people around the world.

Aquabox has been able to send thousands of boxes to many affected areas following disasters, including the devastating tsunamis in Banda Aceh, Sri Lanka and Samoa, earthquakes in Haiti and Indonesia, as well typhoons in Philippines and the enormous floods in Pakistan.

Aquabox gained valuable insight into how to effectively and efficiently dispatch much-needed supplies to disaster-affected areas with the assistance of local aid agencies and Rotary Districts.

Only through much-needed donations has Aquabox (Australia) been able to expand its efforts and help more people around the world. However, the need for emergency aid continues to grow and demand is outstripping current resources. You can help, sponsor Aquabox and extend a helping hand to those in need.

Ian Thomas PP
Rotary Club of Eltham
Aquabox Coordinator