Peter’s story of how he overcame the issue of safe drinking water whilst travelling
Water-to-Go customer, Peter, loves to travel all over the world. He has travelled to many colourful destinations near and far including South Africa, India, Mongolia and Rwanda.
However, when travelling Peter encounters the crucial challenge faced by so many travellers; having vital access to clean safe drinking water whilst not having to rely on environmentally disastrous single-use plastic bottles. Often when on holiday abroad water sources can be unsafe to drink from and can end up completely ruining your holiday through horrible illness. This means travellers are often forced to revert to bottled water as a means of getting essential clean safe drinking water. The problem with this is the horrendous damage single-use plastic does to our beautiful wildlife, particularly in our incredible oceans.
Peter was then at a travel show and came across an intriguing demonstration from the Water-to-Go team. The demonstrator ‘put dirty river water into a reusable plastic bottle with a replaceable filter and then filtered that water into a glass. The water was now crystal clear and he drank it’. Peter added ‘with all the demos he did that day, I did not actually check to see how close he was to the Gents!’ Seeing this demonstration Peter was amazed by what the bottles could do and bought two at the show. These bottles would then be used on every journey since including trips to India, Myanmar, Thailand, Russia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa and Jordan.
A quick introduction – my name is Rob Daniels, I am a GP in East Devon and also work as an Ear Nose and Throat physician. I have a long involvement in rural and remote medicine, and as well as being an expedition doctor for a specialist trekking company, am an academic tutor on the Exeter University MSc program in Extreme Medicine. I am passionate about supporting healthcare workers in resource-poor environments, and in November 2015 I spent 2 weeks in Rwanda doing a pilot study of a system to allow doctors and nurses in rural areas to get expert advice on ear disease, using a digital camera and mobile internet.
This was very successful and I returned to Rwanda on 27th October 2017 to install the equipment in a small clinic in the western province of Rwanda, close to Lake Kivu. It was important that we stayed healthy and well-hydrated in this under-developed area so we wanted to find a product that we could trust.
The second part of the trip involved a sponsored cycle ride on the Congo Nile bike trail to raise money for pulmonary fibrosis. This is a 240km trail through the bush, that was opened 5 years ago to try and bring sustainable ecotourism to the area. My daughter accompanied me on this trip, to carry out a research study into the impact of the trail on livelihoods and living conditions of women and children along the route.
We spent 5 days cycling and kayaking between remote villages on the shores of Lake Kivu. Cycling 40+ km a day, with around 1000m of climbing most days, with a starting altitude of 1400m above sea level just below the equator, we knew we would need to drink a lot of water every day. Equally important was weight, as we would be carrying everything with us.
Having used a variety of water purification options, from ceramic stirrup pump filters to tablets and even liquid iodine, I was keen to find a simpler but still effective solution. Having seen them at a meeting at the Royal Geographical Society, the Water-to-Go bottles looked too good to be true – they were cost-effective, portable, light and with easy suction.
My only concern was that the larger bottles might not fit in a standard mountain bike bottle cage, so bought an Alpkit stemcell to hold the bottles. The bottles worked better than I could have predicted, proving really easy to use one-handed while on the road, and easy to fill and clean. The water tasted fine, without any chemical odour and they also did fit the bottle cages after all. I also found them really good kayaking on a freshwater lake, where it was great to be able to scoop up some lake water mid-paddle.
I would definitely recommend this product for multi-day trekking, bike packing or kayaking trips, and with replacement filters available, they are really cost effective.
It’s the world’s bestselling soft drink – more people buy bottled water than fruit juice or fizzy drinks. Bottled water can cost between 500 to 1000 times more than tap water. So why do we think it is so much better than tap water?So, is it healthier? And does it taste better?
Perceived benefits of bottled water
People buy bottled water simply because it is marketed as being “better” than tap water making it better for you. Furthermore, it is the most convenient way (when you are out and about) to get water and stay hydrated. In one study, convenience, taste, and health risks were influential factors for participants when deciding whether to buy a bottle of water or not.
The real story
It certainly has a hefty carbon footprint – with some reports estimating around 82.8g of CO2 for a half-litre bottle – not insignificant when everyone’s drinking it. Furthermore, the manufacture of plastic, as well as its destruction by incineration, pollutes air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals. The worst problem with bottled water is that the plastic it is made from either does not biodegrade or takes hundreds of years. It just sits and accumulates in landfills or pollutes the environment and the oceans.
So is it really so much better that it’s worth both paying for and harming the planet?
There is no evidence that bottled water is better for you; in fact it may be less safe than tap water. Two-thirds of water from the tap comes from surface water (reservoirs, lakes, rivers) and the rest from ground water (underground geological formations that store rainwater). For some reason, we don’t trust tap water because it is free and therefore assume there is something wrong with it. However, researchers found bottled water is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is much more likely to be contaminated or become a source of infection.
People have gained access to water, but huge inequalities remain.
A new report by the World Health Organisation/Unicef points out that since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to an “improved” drinking water source, one that is designed to protect against contamination. But in 2015, 663 million people still drank water from unprotected sources. In 41 countries, a fifth of people drink water from a source that is not protected from contamination
Inevitably, there are still issues still prevalent with tap water all over the world: chlorine which is added as a disinfectant; insecticides and herbicides which can wash into rivers and lakes and seep into groundwater. Arsenic, which occurs naturally in rocks and soil, linked to increased risk of cancer; and lead, a harmful neurotoxin can be deposited into drinking water as a result of old, corroded metal pipelines.
So whilst tap water may be better than bottled water, it is still not the best option when you are travelling. You may not have access to taps and would rather not use single-use plastic bottles. Surely there is a solution to all these problems and a way to access safe, clean water wherever you are without harming the environment? This is where Water-to-Go comes in.
Use Water-to-Go and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.
Unlike bottled water, Water-to-Go eradicates all the harmful substances tap water contains whether it be chlorine or any other. Not just that, Water-to-Go eliminates over 99.9% of ALL microbiological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals such as lead from any non-salt water source.
It is perfect for everyday use, travelling, backpacking, outdoors, holidays, and sports. You can fill up and drink from taps, rivers, streams and standpipes to name just a few. The filter will even eliminate the smell and taste of the water.
Water-to-Go bottles are environmentally friendly reusable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles meaning you won’t need to keep buying a continuous supply of water bottles when travelling. Use Water-to-Go and you will be protecting your health, your finances and most importantly our planet from plastic pollution.
Use Water-to-Go, and together we can change the world, one bottle, one person at a time.
We are delighted to announce that Water-to-Go bottles are now available in India. The Indian website is set up and ready for orders. Please visit www.watertogo.in
One of the key issues facing India currently is the lack of safe drinking water, with a high burden of water-borne illnesses across all age groups through out the country.
Availability of quality drinking water is a major public health issue for India. Approximately 37.7 million Indians are affected by a water-borne illness each year, and sadly this includes 1.5 million children dying of diarrhoea alone in the nation. With 73 million working days lost annually as a result of water-borne illness, the overall economic burden has been estimated to be around $600 million a year. The true burden of water-borne related hospitalisations and fatalities is hard to estimate due to under-reporting.
The provision of clean drinking water has been given priority in the Constitution of India, with Article 47 conferring the duty of providing clean drinking water and improving public health standards to the State. Various plans have been implemented by the Government to increase access to clean drinking water, however lack of safe and clean drinking water continues to be a major health and economic problem.
With rapid growth in the population the average availability of water is decreasing and it is estimated that by 2020 India will become a water stressed nation. Groundwater is the major source of water in the country with 85% of the population dependent on it.
However, a recent assessment by WaterAid showed that an alarming 80% of India’s surface water is polluted:
“The report, based on latest data from the ministry of urban development (2013), census 2011 and Central Pollution Control Board, estimates that 75-80% of water pollution by volume is from domestic sewerage, while untreated sewerage flowing into water bodies including rivers have almost doubled in recent years. This in turn is leading to increasing burden of vector borne diseases, cholera, dysentery, jaundice and diarrhoea.” Source, The Times of India.
Water-to-Go filter bottles offer an effective, convenient and cost effective solution. Using three different technologies in the filter, Water-to-Go eliminates well in excess of 99.9% off all microbiological contaminants + more in water.
Water-to-Go filters have had extensive testing in Europe, US and India. They’ve been tested on a range of different contaminants including:
Metals & Chemicals
Chromium, Mercury, Nickel, Copper, Iron
Lead, Gold, Silver
Volatile Organic Compounds including Formaldehyde*
* In certain areas of the world natural Arsenic occurs, WtG filters cannot filter Arsenic to 99.9%.
Whether you’re getting close with nature in the great outdoors or drinking from questionable taps on your gap year, holiday, backpacking or hiking adventure you’re going to need safe access to water.
Coming down with the dreaded ‘Delhi Belly’ or ‘Travellers Diarrhoea’ can wipe out an entire trip or holiday, not to mention the more serious contamination that can be lurking in untreated water.
Travelling outside of the UK, you are exposed to a number of different water contaminants that often force us to rely on bottled water (which is extremely bad for the environment, not to mention the vast expense).
The only way to make sure what is in our water when we’re away from home is to treat it ourselves. But, what is the best method for purifying water?
Let’s take a look at the some of the different methods for treating water:
Boiling water to remove unwanted germs is the oldest trick in the book. It’s extremely effective in eliminating microbiological contaminants from the water. It’s recommended to bring the water to a rolling boil for a minimum of 1 minute to purify it. At an altitude above 2,000 metres you should increase this to 3 minutes.
What does boiling water remove: Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
What doesn’t boiling water remove: heavy metals such as lead, debris, nitrates and pesticides.
Advantages of boiling water: Very effective for removing harmful organisms, no cost involved.
Disadvantages of boiling water: Time consuming; access to heating method required E.g. fire, stove or kettle, not effective against potentially harmful chemicals or metals that may be in the water. Smell and taste are not improved.
Purification tablets/halogens, have always been a popular choice for outdoor trekkers and travellers to treat water. For a time, they were the only alternative to boiling water. Essentially they use chemicals to kill off microbiological contaminants from the water. Iodine was traditionally used to purify water. However, in 2009, The European Union (EU) banned the sale of Iodine for use in disinfecting drinking water due to it’s associated health risks. The most common tablets or drops used are made from chlorine, silver or chlorine dioxide.
What do purification tablets kill: Microorganisms such as Bactria, viruses, cysts (depending on type).
What don’t purification tablets remove: Chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, sediment.
Advantages of purification tablets: Small and Lightweight, cheap and cost effective.
Disadvantages of purification tablets: Usually a minimum wait-time of 30 minutes. Some require a wait-time of up to 4 hours to kill contaminants such as cryptosporidium. After the water has been treated, you then still drink the chemicals and additives. Usually have a foul taste.
Ultraviolet Light (UV)
Using UV light to purify water is great for neutralising microbiological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and cysts. They are operated using batteries and are usually small (often in a pen form) and lightweight. There are also versions of the technology in water bottles as well. The process is very quick, usually taking 60-90 seconds.
What does UV light kill: Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
What doesn’t UV light remove: Chemicals, heavy metals sediments and debris.
Advantages of UV light: Small and lightweight (depending on type).
Disadvantages of UV light: Relies on batteries (restricted access to batteries when travelling). Won’t remove any sediment or debris, taste or odours.
Water filters are fantastic for dealing with all types of different water contaminants (depending on which one you go for). They traditionally involve drawing water through a microscopic hole (pore) by pumping or sucking. Most water filters for outdoor use or travel will be able to deal with bacteria and protozoa (Cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia for example). Very few are equipped to deal with viruses.
Water filters for gap years, outdoor use and travel, come in a variety of formats including straws, pump units and water bottles.
Some water filters use a simple ‘carbon block’ technology. These are known as charcoal filters or activated carbon filters. Whilst these types of filters are excellent to reduce chemicals, and odours in domestic tap water they are not recommended to be used with untreated water such as rivers, streams or suspect tap water abroad.
What do water filters remove: Most should eliminate bacteria and cysts. Some will filter viruses if they have a combination of technologies or a small enough pore size. Some will even eliminate chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides.
What don’t water filters remove: Depends on type.
Advantages of water filters: Usually light, portable, quick and cost effective (depending on type).
Disadvantages of water filters: Filters will eventually need to be replaced. Flow rate may be slow (depending on type).
Traditionally when choosing a water filter, the most important question was ‘what is the pore size’. When you’re dealing with microbiological contaminants there are 3 key groups that need to be considered.
When talking about the pore size, we refer back to standard technology. The mechanical restriction of the size of the pores has been the traditional measure of what a filter will eliminate. This is not the case with all filters. For example, Water-to-Go uses a unique combination of three technologies, each performs individually but it is the combination that makes it unique. Water-to-Go use a combination of two nano technologies, which not only reduce the pore size to 0.7 microns, but also create a positive hydrostatic charge in the membrane which attract and traps even the smallest of viruses!
In addition to the nano technology used in Water-to-Go filter water bottles, activated carbon is used. However, instead of glueing them into a block (which loses 60% of its efficiency), it is incorporated into the membrane so it works at maximise the benefits.
What does Water-to-Go remove: All microbiological contaminants including Bacteria, Viruses, Protozoa, Cysts, Chemicals like chlorine and fluoride, heavy metals like copper and lead as well as pesticides. See full list.
What doesn’t Water-to-Go remove: The positively charged minerals, E.g. calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium.
Advantages of Water-to-Go: Small and lightweight. Cost effective. Fast Flow rate (10-12ml per second) Works instantly, doesn’t require batteries, eliminates bad taste and odours.
Disadvantages of Water-to-Go: Replaceable filter (however, these are low cost and last up to 200 litres).
Meet Team #WeLive: They are five audacious women driving two ludicrously small cars across 10,000 miles to speak up for voiceless women everywhere! They are a 2016 Mongol Rally team on the trek of a lifetime to raise money for 2 charities and truly make a difference.
The Mongol Rally, is a 10,000 mile adventure race (in a small car across Europe and Asia. The teams must travel over mountains and desert in a small car with an engine size of 1 lite or less. – There’s no backup, no support and no set route!
The rules of the Rally are very simple…
1. You can only take a farcically small vehicle
2. You’re completely on your own
3. You’ve got to raise a £1000 for charity
#WeLive’s chosen charities are Mountain2Mountain, an organisation focused on empowering women in Afghanistan through bicycling, and the official charity of the Mongol Rally, Cool Earth; working to keep indigenous people in charge of their rainforests.
We caught up with the team’s blogger, Alice:
“What started out as a crazy trek to prove that women can be overland adventurers, quickly turned into the opportunity of a life-time to highlight the needs of women along our route. We are collectively passionate about women’s empowerment and will be creating an e-book and film upon our return documenting not only our journey but the real life needs of women’s rights organisations we plan to meet. Team #WeLive is a group of feisty fierce femmes who are each exceptional in their own right, but when brought together, are unstoppable!”
“When it comes to taking our pit stop, we’re determined to take care of our adventurous souls and mother earth as best we can. There’s no better way to do that than grabbing fresh water from our Water-to-Go bottles. Whether we’re at a muddy river, a roadside rest stop or swimming in glorious lakes, we’ve got filtered water to help us out. Team Captain, Paula is gonna be happy with a lack of plastic bottles filling up our cars too!”
The trek will take them across 2 continents, 3 deserts, 5 mountain ranges, jostling their little cars over terrain that will make their axles creak and engines whine.
The challenge is to say goodbye to conveniences like pre-packed sandwiches, ready meals and plastic-bottled drinks for a day, a week or the whole month.
Last year almost 850 people took part in the MCS Plastic Challenge, and over 95% said they would continue reducing their plastic use after the challenge was over. The charity hopes even more people will take part in 2016.
Dr. Sue Kinsey, Technical Specialist – Waste, said she was amazed at the lengths people had to go to find products that didn’t contain plastic of any kind. “By its very nature, this is a tricky challenge. It highlights how reliant we have become on plastic. But challengers have been making their own bread, yogurt, cleaning products and bathroom products like mouthwash and sugar scrubs so as not to use plastic containers that are used once, then thrown out.”
Last year, Challengers reported the hardest items to find plastic-free were dried goods like pasta, rice and pulses, along with milk and loo paper. MCS says the amount of plastic litter on our beaches has increased by 180% in the last 20 years and has become a massive threat to marine wildlife. Plastic bags, bottles and tiny plastic pieces are regularly found in the stomachs of turtles and other sea creatures, and in some cases have caused their death from starvation or choking.
“Reducing plastic litter will certainly be an uphill climb – but if we can all cut down the amount we use, there’s no doubt our marine environment will be a healthier place” says Dr. Kinsey.
“We want to change people’s attitudes towards single-use plastics, and to encourage people to value plastic as a resource – not just buying stuff without any thought of the environmental impact” says Dr. Kinsey. “People taking on the Plastic Challenge are often shocked to find out just how much single-use plastic is used every day. Have a go at the Plastic Challenge, even if you can only manage a single day, and you’ll never look at your shopping in the same way again!”
Plastic plays a massive part in all of our lives, from brushing our teeth and showering, to plastic-packed products and cooking. For instance many of us have lunch on the go – and that highlights the extent of our plastic problem – boiled eggs in individual plastic containers, apple slices in plastic bags, pasties on a polystyrene tray wrapped in plastic, plus prepacked sandwiches and bottled drinks. “Our clamour for convenience is bad news for our seas,” says Dr. Kinsey. “Plastic is durable and lightweight, but it’s these properties that allow it to remain in the marine environment for hundreds if not thousands of years. Plastics are among the most persistent synthetic materials in existence and are now a significant and extensive marine pollutant.”
MCS offers help and advice through an online community in the run up to the challenge and all through the month of June. There is also an online shop with products to help you say goodbye to plastic waste. Water-to-Go bottles are available and to celebrate the Plastic Challenge we’ve got 15% off using the code MCS16 at checkout. Not only do you get a discount, we’ll match the discount and donate 15% directly to MCS.
Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity that exists to create lasting change through youth.
Raleigh, believe that when local communities and young people work side by side it empowers them, and it’s the energy and motivation of empowered people that creates lasting change.
A core strategic priority for Raleigh is WASH: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Raleigh want to help meet the Global Goal for Sustainable Development 6 – ‘ensure water and sanitation for all’. Raleigh pursues a holistic approach to WASH interventions by inspiring behavioural change – better hygiene practises can save lives. In rural schools, homes and communities, they achieve transformational change by supporting young women and men to have access to safe water, and sanitation.
Because Raleigh projects deliver safe, clean water in Malaysian Borneo, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania, Water-to-Go has pledged to donate £1 per product sold in the online store between 16th May and 29th May.
Buy a Water-to-Go product today and play your part in changing lives!
Adventurer and expedition leader Chaz Powell is set to become the first ever person to walk the entire length of the Zambezi River in one outing while raising money and awareness for wildlife conservation. Setting out in August, Chaz will walk for 6 months through the driest and hottest months of the year in order to find safe passage through the floodplains and finishing this gruelling challenge during the November to January wet season.
36 year old Powell from Shropshire is aiming to go one better than David Lemon who, at an incredible 69 years of age, was the first person to walk the Zambezi River in two stages, excluding its path through Angola where he failed to obtain a Visa. Chaz will start this mammoth, 1600 mile, expedition from the Zambezi source in North Western Zambia, passing through Angola for 150 miles, back into Zambia, then crossing through Mozambique until finally reaching the river’s mouth at the Indian Ocean.
Lemon has given Chaz his full support and offers these words of encouragement “Known as ‘The Mighty Zambezi’ throughout most of Africa, The Zambezi River has captured the imagination of Mankind through the ages. Having walked it myself, I know what Chaz Powell faces and wish him all the luck in the world. Believe me Chaz, when you reach the sea at Chinde, it will be the high spot of your life and a moment that will live in your memory for ever.”
“I chose to raise money for the DSWF because they show the same passion and commitment that I’d need for this challenge to fight wildlife crime and protect endangered wildlife. I feel we can work together to make a huge difference.”
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is a non-profit organisation funding key projects in Africa and Asia working to save critically endangered animals in the wild. Founded in 1981 by wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd CBE, the charity works to fight wildlife crime and protect precious wildlife populations by engaging with local people to nurture long-term, sustainable solutions to human-animal conflicts.
“Every year our Wildlife Warrior fundraising volunteers play a critical role in raising much-needed funds to support our conservation projects in Africa and Asia working to protect some of the world’s most endangered and iconic animals,” said DSWF CEO Sally Case. “We are immensely grateful to Chaz for committing such an amazing amount of energy and time on behalf of the charity. To walk the Zambezi River, solo and unaided, is such a massive challenge both physically and mentally and we will support him with every step.”
He plans to walk solo and unaided, relying on help from people along the river for food and accommodation as well as carrying all equipment needed to survive alone such as camping equipment and dry foods.
“Being a passionate adventurer I want to challenge myself in the wildest of environments and have an itch to walk a relatively unexplored region” says Chaz. “My main aim during the walk is to raise money and awareness for wildlife conservation throughout Africa, and to highlight the growing concerns of wildlife crimes happening all over the world. My dream to have an education scheme running throughout Africa educating people to understand and protect wildlife from an early age is something I share with DSWF.”
When asked about the challenge that may befall him on his epic journey this summer, Chaz seems unfazed by the dangers “The terrain will be testing, the heat will be a big factor, the wildlife and mosquitoes will be trying to eat me, border crossings might be tricky. I will encounter Lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, buffalo, crocs, snakes, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and a fair few more. To be honest there is quite a lot that could go wrong. Guess that makes it all the more exciting and challenging for me.”
“The Water-to-Go bottle will make the crucial difference in obtaining safe clean drinking water, whilst hiking along the wilds of the Mighty Zambezi River. Recently, whilst traversing La Palma, I used my Water-to-Go bottle to drink from streams, rivers, canals and even water dripping from rocks, it made all the difference.”
Chaz has a wealth of expedition experience “I’m a summer mountain leader and have recently became an expedition leader. I have walked several long distance paths in the UK including the UK’s longest river (The Severn) over 12 days.” The 36 year old from Shropshire is not taking the expedition lightly and has been doing training walks along the Zambezi, walking with a guide and armed guard through the Mosi-o-Tunya national park, learning how to walk amongst wild animals, as well as a walk along the Zambezi Gorges (one of the trickiest sections of the expeditions) and a walk through the African bush.
“During January I was on an expedition hitchhiking to Europe’s most Northern Point on a small budget to film and admire the Northern Lights. I have just finished walking the length of La Palma the world’s steepest island. It is such a mega diverse island with jungles, caves, volcanoes, ice capped mountains, alpine forests and some of the most amazing sites I have ever witnessed.”