Kohler Partners with World Vision, iDE and Water Mission to Provide Safe Drinking Water

An estimated 1.8 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Kohler Co. has developed a ceramic filtration system called KOHLER Clarity and will work with World Vision, iDE and Water Mission, among others, to enable people in remote regions to access safe, reliable drinking water. The system was designed to bring aspirational products to an affordable price point so NGOs and end users do not have to choose form over function.

“In our research into providing safe drinking water, we saw a way to solve a pressing social issue by improving the performance, design and distribution of the water filters currently available in developing nations,” says Tim White, business development manager for Water Technologies at Kohler. “We are working with global partners like World Vision, iDE and Water Mission, to get this product in the hands of the millions of people without safe water.”

“Our goal with KOHLER Clarity is to provide a filter extremely efficient at creating safe drinking water that also becomes a fixture of convenience and dignity in a home,” says Mike Radloff, senior project manager, Water Technologies. “Kohler engineers and designers love a challenge and have high standards. In two years, we’ve been able to bring together teams around the world to use our expertise in plumbing to develop and bring to market this solution.”

The filter has undergone initial laboratory evaluation, and field testing began with World Vision in India and Africa in November. Production began in December, with expected release in January to partners like World Vision, iDE and Water Mission. Kohler is also meeting with other global partners about distribution through their networks.

Designed following PATH’s C1 filter guidelines, KOHLER Clarity is simple considering the potential global impact. The filter works on gravity alone, no electricity or water infrastructure is needed. The filter holds 11 liters (2.9 gallons) of dirty water that flows into a 12-liter (3.1-gallon) reservoir, where the clean water is stored to avoid recontamination.

KOHLER Clarity removes more than 99 percent of bacteria and protozoa to meet the World Health Organization’s interim-level water quality guidelines. Additionally, studies show that safe drinking water and storage, such as filtering, reduces the risk of certain water-borne illnesses by 45 percent.

The filtration system is simple to assemble, use and maintain, with flush lines and smooth surfaces for easy cleaning. It’s backed by Kohler’s commitment to quality.

KOHLER Clarity can filter up to 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of water per day, meeting the drinking water needs of a typical family. With an estimate ceramic filter life of up to one year, Clarity costs less than 1 cent per person per day to operate. At the end of the filter’s useful life, the cartridge can be easily removed and replaced, eliminating the need to purchase a new system.

In keeping with Kohler’s sustainable product development mindset, the lid, base and nut contain recycled plastics from toilet seat production. The corrugated box, designed to minimize non-biodegradable packing material, is shaped to optimally fill a shipping container to reduce shipping costs and can be worn on the back for easy transport.

Kohler Co. has a strong commitment to water quality and water conservation. The company worked with Safe Water Kenya to improve its BioSand water filtration unit and has an ongoing partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Caltech to design more sanitary toilet solutions for communities without a centralized water treatment infrastructure. Kohler Co. has also been honored to receive eight EPA WaterSense awards since 2008.

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