Our mission is to expand safe drinking water access in low- and middle-income countries through research, collaboration, and sustainable solutions aimed at improving the existing water landscape.



Aquality Grant Competition: A Better Bottling Solution for Drinking Water in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

We are hosing a grant competition to find innovative solutions to the problems facing bottled water in Latin America. Read more below!


A recent Aquality study in Muisne, Ecuador found that 96% of its population frequently consumes bottled water, even though 98% of the community lives below the poverty line. Drinking water is typically distributed in large, 20L jugs to more rural communities that lack adequate piped water systems. These are the same kind of blue, 5-gallon bottles (see picture below) that are commonplace on the top of water dispensers in many office spaces in the U.S. Our research in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, and Mexico has shown that the vast majority of these reusable bottles are contaminated with coliform bacteria, and in many cases E. coli bacteria. Our research shows inadequate cleaning of bottles between uses is the principal problem.


Devise a solution that will reduce bacterial burden in reusable large-volume reusable plastic water containers. Solutions should be designed for small-scale use in low- and middle-income countries, and therefore must be durable, affordable, and technologically appropriate for these conditions.


Competition Details

  • Technical and non-technical solutions are accepted
  • Paper proposal deadline: December 1, 2017
  • Judges’ session with in-person oral pitch at Harvard University: Early February, 2018
  • Winners will receive:
    • Funding up to $10,000 to support development of a prototype of the solution
    • Additional support from expert mentors for winning teams


Grant Application

Teams of 1-5 members may submit applications for the competition. For details of the competition, please refer to the full competition description document. Applications should not exceed 15 pages.

Please email hdavis@aqualityinternational.org with any questions or to request further information about the competition.

Click here for more detailed information about Aquality’s new grant competition!




The name Aquality is a reflection of our belief that #DrinkingWaterEquality is a fundamental human right, and that drinking water should be equally accessible and safe regardless of your race, gender, socioeconomic or disability status, where you live, or any other personal attribute. Aquality aspires to create a world in which no one is put at a disadvantage due to a lack of convenient and consistent access to safe drinking water.


Our four main goals are:

  1. Equal Access – It is abundantly clear that there is a huge disparity in global access to drinking water. In the US the vast majority of homes have potable tap water, whereas in some regions of Africa and Latin America people have to walk to the nearest well or river each day to collect water in jars for their family. Equal access to drinking water necessitates that every person around the globe has access to an abundance of drinking water without any more effort than turning a faucet handle. This means that no one should ever have to spend a significant portion of their time or income on procuring water, regardless of their income level.
  2. Equal Quality – Not all drinking water is created equal. We believe that in order to achieve drinking water equality, the quality of all water allocated for human consumption must meet the same universal standards for safety and æsthetics. All drinking water should be safe to drink without any concern of illnesses caused by chemical or biological contaminants, including arsenic, lead, viruses, parasites, E. coli, and other bacteria. Additionally, all drinking water should meet reasonable standards for taste, color, and clarity. Our team believes that if drinking water is a human right, then all of the water we consume should be required to meet the same quality standards, regardless of what country we are in.
  3. Equal Security – Access to an abundant supply of drinking water must be both convenient and consistent to achieve drinking water equality. It is a supranational government responsibility to ensure that policy and infrastructure is such that drinking water is not subject to changes in quality or abundance based on regional drought, changes in governance, or other influencing factors. Water must be robust and prioritized above national borders.
  4. Equal Education – Lastly, to achieve true drinking water equality, everyone must have equal access to education about water. This includes an understanding of when to use safe drinking water (for consumption, cooking, and bathing), and how to properly handle it in the home to avoid contamination. It also includes transparency about the quality and safety of various potential drinking water sources.


Here you can learn more about our work, find out ways to get involved, or reach out to us.

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