Sustainability Ethics

Environmental Sustainability

Gravity Water provides clean drinking water to communities in developing countries in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. The Earth has been filtering water for us for billions of years, through a simple method called the water cycle. Gravity Water works with the earth to take fresh “filtered” water from the sky, store it at an elevated level off the ground for long periods, and use gravity as the only energy source to filter the rainwater one step further.

The Gravity Water system is environmentally sustainable in two major ways. First, since the system focuses on catching rainwater, there is a reduced dependency on developing and altering natural water systems, such as rivers and springs, to provide water for human use. Since Gravity Water systems focus on elevated storage and gravity-fed filtration, the systems can provide filtered clean drinking water 100% electricity-free without dependency on fossil fuels.

Second, the Gravity Water system increases adaptive capacity to global climate change. Projected increases in precipitation over mid-latitude land masses and in wet tropical climates will increase erosion and surface runoff into water bodies, increasing the potential for pollutants to enter the system. However, this increase in precipitation will provide an increasing water resource through rainwater catchment as time goes on.

Economic Sustainability

Gravity Water systems are one of the most affordable ways to provide communities with a permanent source of safe drinking water. Since our systems focus on a low-tech approach that utilizes locally-sourced materials and skill sets in every community we work with, the cost of installation and maintenance are exponentially less than traditional clean water systems (ex. deep wells, desalination, surface water diversion and storage, etc…). Through the support of our members, donors, and private and public partners, Gravity Water provides clean water systems to public schools and communities in developing countries completely free of charge. The only costs that are passed on to the schools and communities include basic filter replacement and minimal maintenance, which averages roughly $0.05 per child per year following installation. Exponentially lower installation costs mean an exponential amount of people served for the same monetary investment and extremely low upkeep costs allow for the systems to be sustained by the communities that depend on the systems throughout the future.

Social Sustainability

Gravity Water focuses on providing job opportunities and leadership roles for community members in developing nations. Each region that Gravity Water operates in is headed by local community members, providing job opportunities and decreasing the dependence on foreign operating personnel. This increases local empowerment and ownership of the program and eliminates potential issues of trust between developing communities and foreign interests.

Cultural Sustainability

There’s a story of a well built in a community in Africa that was destroyed by the women it was intended to benefit. What is the importance of this story? Understanding that every culture and community has a relationship to water that is deeply ingrained in them throughout many generations; community empowerment, leadership, and familiarity with water relief projects are vital to their long-term success.

Many communities in developing nations around the world use water tanks to store ground or surface water, usually on rooftops, throughout the year. Since Gravity Water uses the same water tanks that are well known to these communities, integrating rainwater as the primary water source is much more culturally assimilative and adaptable, since it only introduces an augmentation in the process of accessing water instead of a brand new form of water supply. Incentivizing community members in the planning and building process ensures that the communities feel a connection to each Gravity Water system installed.

Gravity Water provides a new approach to solving the global water crisis. With energy-independent filtration and storage, locally provided materials and management, adaptive capacity to climate change scenarios, and long-term economic sustainability, Gravity Water has the potential to successfully provide a long-term solution to clean water access for millions of people globally.