And while it's built as a long-term solution for purifying a village's water source, it can be used in any humanitarian crisis. It starts working in 15 minutes after set-up, it's child's play to use, and doesn't require routine maintenance. There are no filters to replace because the AV uses a backwash system that operates while the unit is still purifying water.
Three of the AV units can be hooked up to a single portable generator.
The polluted water in Basra is also very salty, but I assume the AV could take care of that; however, given its level of filtration I'd guess the purified water would have to be remineralized -- not hard or expensive; there are mineral drops for that purpose.
I don't know the cost of each unit but if they worked out in Ethiopia, where I'd guess they were field-tested, maybe the Ethiopian government could chip in several units as a humanitarian gesture for the Basrans. His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie had told Gregory Copley, whose brainstorm had started development of the AV, that he wanted the system for every community in Africa.
Right now the only recourse those people in Basra have is bottled water, which is expensive and scarce, so they're drinking poisoned water and getting sick by the thousands -- and now the hospitals are overwhelmed and don't have enough medicines to treat all the ill.
The situation is a nightmare; it's going to require a massive international aid effort as a stopgap measure, but I thought of AV when I learned about the crisis. For readers who don't know about the AV system, here's how it works:
As to how the crisis came about -- see the Al-Monitor report below for details but in short: Basra gets its water from the Shatt al-Arab, the waterway formed by the juncture of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, both of which are at historic lows. This has created "staggering" levels of pollution in a water supply system that was on its last legs to begin with, and which the local and central governments have not fixed.
This touched off a drinking water crisis in Basra starting in August. The crisis has led to intermittent rioting, which picked up again on September 2.
Here's a few quotes from the Al-Monitor report that quickly convey the seriousness of the situation:
"Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani asserted in an Aug. 25 statement to the press, “Basra’s water is not suitable for human use" ... The number of people sickened continues to increase, with Abu Al-Khasib General Hospital alone receiving 400 patients a day ... According to statistics from the health directorate, Basra's water pollution is staggering. Chemical contamination stands at 100% and the bacterial pollution at 50%, including water from household taps. The High Commission for Human Rights noted, “[Residents] are drinking water from tank cars, most of which transport sewage waste. ... The commission has also noted the lack of water treatment plants capable of helping resolve the problem. “Most of the small stations are not operational due to their low capacity and lack of maintenance” ... There are apparently no emergency plans for responding effectively to such circumstances. ... For the moment, bottled water appears to be the only truly safe drinking water in Basra, but even when it is available it is often unaffordable. "
As to the rioting:
Margaret Griffis, Anti-war, September 2: Clean Water Protests Resume; Eight Killed in Iraq:
Thousands of demonstrators returned to the provincial government building in Basra, Iraq, where they set tires on fire to call attention to the dire water situation in the province. A separate group of about 150 protesters gathered outside the Nahr Bin Omar oilfield and threatened to prevent oil production until they get clean water. ... At least eight people were killed and four were wounded in recent violence. [...]Margaret Griffis, Anti-war, September 3: Basra Protests Turn Violent; 16 Killed in Iraq
Video has surfaced of what is purportedly a group of Federal Police tear-gassing detained protesters at an unknown location. Protesters also reportedly set fire to the mayor’s home in Shatt al-Arab. There are also multiple reports on the Internet of security forces killing and wounding protesters in Basra. [...]And here's the complete Al-Monitor report:
Mustafa Saadoun, August 31: Basra residents reeling from contaminated drinking water
BASRA, Iraq — Human rights advocates and health officials estimate that 17,000 to 18,000 residents of Basra province have been poisoned by heavily polluted and salty drinking water. On Aug. 26, hundreds of residents stormed the Basra Health Directorate to protest the poor health services provided to those made ill, but relief is not in sight.
Basra hospitals have been struggling since Aug. 12 to treat patients suffering from intestinal and skin diseases. Some hospitals have been so overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients and lack of medicines that were unable to provide assistance in thousands of cases.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights documented 7,000 cases in just two days, Aug. 25-26. In an Aug. 25 report, the organization said, “The health services provided by the Basra hospitals can hardly cater to the needs of 15% of the cases. Some patients were left to lie on the floor as they failed to receive any treatment.”
The number of people sickened continues to increase, with Abu Al-Khasib General Hospital alone receiving 400 patients a day. Statistics compiled by the provincial health directorate for Aug. 12-28 revealed close to 2,000 cases each day throughout the province. Those affected are presenting with colic, diarrhea and poisoning due to water contamination.
According to statistics from the health directorate, Basra's water pollution is staggering. Chemical contamination stands at 100% and the bacterial pollution at 50%, including in water from household taps. The High Commission for Human Rights noted, “[Residents] are drinking water from tank cars, most of which transport sewage waste.”
In a video posted to YouTube on Aug. 23, a man in Basra can be heard laughing about the foul water running from a hose. The black liquid is obviously unsuitable for human consumption or use. “How can Iraqis survive when this is the water they drink?” one person says.
When shown the video, one local man, Ruaa al-Furaiji, asked Al-Monitor, “Is this the water we were drinking?”
Basra gets its water from the Shatt al-Arab, the waterway formed by the juncture of the Euphrates and Tigris. In an Aug. 28 statement, the High Commission for Human Rights said it has found high levels of salinity in the water feeding the Shatt al-Arab, a decline in water levels in the rivers feeding residential areas and an increase in chemical and biological contaminants in the Shatt al-Arab from sewage and industrial waste.
The commission has also noted the lack of water treatment plants capable of helping resolve the problem. “Most of the small stations are not operational due to their low capacity and lack of maintenance,” the commission reported. Basra’s water has long been known to be high in salinity and heavily polluted.
On Aug. 28, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said at his weekly press conference, “We have tasked a high-level government team with examining Basra’s water needs and pollution levels, and we have made important decisions in this regard.” He offered no details, but his statement made it clear that whatever actions the government has in mind, they will not end Basra's suffering anytime soon. There are apparently no emergency plans for responding effectively to such circumstances.
Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani asserted in an Aug. 25 statement to the press, “Basra’s water is not suitable for human use, and the services and funds that Abadi promised ... have yet to be provided.” He added, “The water network in Basra province hasn't been upgraded in 30 years, and it overlaps with the sewage networks, which are also old and whose water flows into the Shatt al-Arab.”
On Aug. 17, activists from the province posted a video on YouTube of water from a residential water pipe containing unidentified insects. Some residents have also used their cell phones to record examples of polluted water. For the moment, bottled water appears to be the only truly safe drinking water in Basra, but even when it is available it is often unaffordable.
Fatima al-Zarkani, a former parliament member who represented Basra province, told Al-Monitor, “There are [thousands of] cases of poisoning, and people are suffering from very difficult conditions due to water pollution. The government should carry out its responsibilities as soon as possible.”
She added, “People have been drinking water containing toxins due to government neglect and a lack of solutions to their suffering, which has been ongoing for years now, and [the conditions are] degenerating. ... The situation in Basra is tragic.”
Iraqi Health Minister Adila Hammoud has tried to downplay the severity of the situation, claiming that only 1,500 people have been affected, ignoring the much higher figures issued by the Basra Health Directorate and the High Commission for Human Rights.
Education officials have voiced concerns about the possible spread of disease among students at the start of the new school year. Meanwhile, the widespread illness in Basra has led to a lull in one of the largest protest movements in Iraq in years over public services, but the dire situation might ultimately be the catalyst for mobilizing an even bigger movement.