Cleaner, Cheaper Drinking Water in Rural India: Reddit AskScience AMA

by Kate Repantis on July 15, 2016 · 0 comments

in Alumni Life, Design, Engineering, Health, Research

In India, roughly 45 percent of the population is currently drinking untreated, salty water from bore wells. In the rural village of Mhasawad, many residents regularly drink water with salinity levels of 1,200 ppm (parts per million), double the levels recommended by the World Health Organization. Water at such high salinity levels can cause countless health problems including kidney stones and digestive problems. But for many villagers, purchasing clean, desalinated water comes at too high a price tag—costing upwards of 30 percent of a monthly salary.

Credit: John Friedah

Credit: John Friedah

Over the past several years, MIT Professor Amos Winter SM ’05, PhD ’11 and Natasha Wright SM ’13 have traveled to several rural Indian villages to meet with farmers and villagers to better understand the problem. Back at MIT, they are developing a cost-effective solar-powered desalination system to provide a safe and affordable source of drinking water. Join them for a live Reddit AskScience AMA on Wednesday, July 20 from 4-5 p.m. EDT to learn more about their work operating as engineers, product designers, ethnographers, social scientists, and machine designers to build a lasting solution. Visit this page to start posting your questions before today’s AMA:


About the Speakers:
Amos Winter is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He also serves as the director of the Global Engineering and Research (GEAR) Lab, which focuses on the marriage of mechanical design theory and user-centered product design to create simple, elegant technological solutions for use in highly constrained environments.

Natasha Wright is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and a Fellow in the Tata Center for Technology and Design. Her current work focuses on using electrodialysis technology, powered by photovoltaics, to provide clean drinking water in off-grid settings.

How do I participate in the Reddit AskScience AMA?
In order to ask questions or vote on questions you would like answered, you will need to log in to Reddit or set up an account. Then follow these four easy steps:

1. Click on the “Clean Water AMA” listing at 4:00 p.m. EDT. NOTE: While the session will formally start at 4 p.m., you can start asking questions now.

2. Read what your fellow Redditers are asking. Like a question or want to ask your own? Click on the upvoting arrow to the left of the question. Questions with the most upvotes rise to the top of the page and are most likely to be answered.

3. Don’t see your question asked? Ask your own! Click on the “Ask a Question” blue box on the right side of the page. Type your question, and click save. It will automatically appear in the thread and the community can upvote the question if they like it.

4. What do I ask? Anything at all. Check out the text of Winter and Wright’s bios above for more information on their backgrounds and to get you thinking about good questions to ask.

This AskScience Reddit AMA is produced in association with the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering. Learn more about how MIT is working to make a better world at, and share your stories with #MITBetterWorld.


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