When things are going swimmingly and you have access to lots of things, it’s easy to take those things for granted. An example of this is access to clean water, which is readily available thanks to filters, taps and the water supply system. However, there are less unfortunate people out there such as those in rural or disaster-stricken areas who have limited (or no) access to clean water. This is where Wateroam comes in, providing access to clean water!
Wateroam is a social enterprise that develops water filtration solutions that are catered to rural regions and disaster-hit locations. Aiming to end prolonged thirst in the world, they design and deploy simple, portable, durable and affordable filters, improving access to clean drinking water quickly and effectively. The idea first came about in 2014, when the three founders David, Vincent and Chong Tee met at the National University of Singapore (NUS) through a Hydropreneur Programme, an accelerator program started by the Public Utilities Board and NUS enterprise. Though coming from different disciplines, the three founders realised that they are like-minded with a common objective in mind — to do something about the global water problems.
When Clean Water Is A Challenge
Through the Hydropreneur Programme, they learned that the lack of access to clean water in Asia is actually a serious issue plaguing many developing countries. Many are forced to drink water straight from potentially contaminated sources like rivers and lakes due to lack of options, and as a region highly prone to natural disasters, it hinders and disrupts access to clean water even more. This struck the three founders so dramatically that they felt the need to do something about it. With the privilege of having clean water, they decided to help those without, thus they designed a water filtration system catered for disaster zones and hard-to-reach rural regions. After the competition, they pooled their resources and built a working prototype that was deployed in Indonesia and Cambodia.
Clean Water For All
The prototype was well-received, and that’s when they realised that this could be a technology that could save lives. Hoping to improve lives through clean water access, they found a sustainable way to replicate the initial system, and developed ROAMfilter™ Plus. A lightweight water filtration system that can be used effectively in places that are difficult to access, ROAMfilter™ Plus provides safe and clean drinking water, is simple enough to operate (requires no electricity) and is easily set up and portable, as it only weighs 2.5kg and is backpackable. The filter cartridge is replaceable and can last for 2 years, therefore it is more sustainable than bottled water. With a flow rate of 200L/hour, it can serve up to 100 people for the 2-year period. Basically, Wateroam’s ROAMfilter™ Plus is a simple, affordable, durable and portable system that converts unsafe fresh water into clean drinkable water on the spot, including existing sources of water like rivers, wells or rainwater.
Wateroam primarily caters to the 2 billion people that still don’t have access to clean water, but it also includes the relief centers, refugee camps, emergency hospitals, humanitarian organisations, charities, NGOs and governments that are all working to provide clean water to communities in need. Based in Singapore yet targeting the needs of other countries, Wateroam faces challenges such as geographical, cultural and habitual constraints. On-site visits are crucial to help develop a solution that works for them, and not just based on assumptions. Recently, they’ve impacted 100,000 people worldwide, and they want to continue the impact by improving manufacturing processes and building wider networks with a variety of people. Clean water does not just save lives, it transforms them. They also have a few achievements under their belt: Startup and Innovation Driven Entrepreneur Award at the 2019 Asean Business Awards; Young Leaders SDG 6: Water & Sanitation Representative for the 2016 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and emerging #1 on our list of Top 10 Social Enterprises in Singapore.
“To anyone seeking a better world, take action, and create it. Change will not come if we only dream, we have to act to be the agent of change we seek.” – Chong Tee
“If you believe in what you do and have the burning passion to make it reality, then do it. The last thing you want in life is regret, because you only live once.” -Vincent
“If you’re thinking of starting any social enterprise and startups, just go ahead and do it because the opportunity cost is low.” – David
Message from Wateroam:
We just want to take a moment to appreciate all the individuals and organizations that have supported us in a variety of ways over the years, and most recently in this Top Ten vote! We are extremely fortunate and grateful for the fierce individuals who believe in making a difference in the world with us.
To learn more or help make a difference, visit wateroam.com!