Like most websites OVO Energy uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this site. Accept and Close

How drinking floodwater is saving lives (yes, really!)

By Rachel England Friday 10 January 2014

Life straw

You’re probably familiar with the Rime of the Ancient Mariner: ‘Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink’. This old saying is even more fitting of late, as the UK has been besieged with heavy rain and widespread flooding: every news programme worth its salt has a poor reporter wading down streets up to their shins in the murky brown filth. Floodwater is pretty grim, and the last thing we’d think of doing is drinking it, right?

Well yes, obviously. But for some parts of the world those affected by flooding have little choice, and as clean supplies are cut off, or are out of reach, people are forced to drink water teeming with disease and parasites.

But a clever invention means that floodwater could actually become a viable source of drinking water, helping save lives and reduce the global dependency on freshwater sources.

Life straw

The innovative ‘LifeStraw’ removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of parasites from dirty water, purifying it without the need for electricity, chemicals or running water. It’s more effective than boiling, and doesn't require as much time or energy. Plus, a single unit is able to filter up to 1,000 litres of water – enough for one person for a whole year!

Designed by Swedish company Vestergaard Frandsen for people living in developing nations and for use during humanitarian crises, the LifeStraw was named by Forbes magazine as ‘One of Ten Things that Will Change the Way We Live’ – and rightly so, as the smart invention was distributed during the Haiti earthquake, 2010 Pakistan floods, 2011 Thailand floods and to more than 10,000 children and households in Kenya, which suffers from serious ongoing drought. More recently, LifeStraws have played a vital role in humanitarian work in the Philippines, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. One small rotary club in South Wales alone orchestrated a shipment of 5,000 LifeStraws to affected individuals.

As well as providing clean, safe drinking water for those in desperate need, LifeStraws have also become popular with adventurers and trekkers, and Vestergaard is committed to using profits from such sales to provide water purifiers to schools in Africa. This had led to a nearly 50% reduction in diarrheal illness, a 42% reduction in absenteeism, and an incalculable effect on the lives of school-age girls, who often miss out on an education as they’re tasked with gathering water instead.

It’s unlikely that such humanitarian work will serve as a blueprint for water provision in the UK, but with resources becomingly increasingly scarce, it’s not completely unfeasible that one day we might be reliant on floodwater for consumption. It sounds rather unpleasant, and we may have no choice but to suck it up – but at least with a LifeStraw we could do so cleanly and safely.

Share this article

Ready to switch?

Simply enter your postcode and see how much you can save

O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.

 

1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.

Pay Monthly unit rates

PAYG unit rates

Read more Read less