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Computer to provide clean water, internet and solar power in Africa

This 15-tonne machine is providing clean water, internet and electricity to a community in Ghana.
This 15-tonne machine is providing clean water, internet and electricity to a community in Ghana. Hand out, Watly

A 15-tonne computer could soon bring clean drinking water, electricity and the internet to communities in need in Africa and around the world.

The computer, called Watly, is currently being tested in Ghana.

Officials at Watly (also the name of the “ethical-for-profit” company out of Spain who developed it), say the large-scale computer will filter clean drinking water and provide internet and electricity for towns of up to 3,000 people. Annually the computer could provide around three million litres of clean water, something that continues to be a struggle for many places across the world according to NGO WaterAid.

“More than 650 million of the world’s poorest people are living without access to an ‘improved’ source of drinking water. The price paid by these communities – in wasted income, ill-health, and lost productivity – is extremely high, and has a devastating impact from the family to the national level,” says a recent report released by the NGO in March in conjunction with International Water Day.

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The project was originally funded by grants, but is currently seeking crowdfunding for continued work.

Watly is not only aiming to provide under-served populations with its three main services but is also planning to do so with as little impact on the environment as possible.

READ MORE: Officials announce Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to get its ‘Freedom Road’

During the expected 15-year life of each unit, it can “reduce as much as 2500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) equivalent to 5000 barrels of oil,” according to the company’s website.

The cost to produce each unit comes in at around $453,000 US and the creators say their product is being designed to sell to governments and NGOs.

The company is planning to install the next unit in one of three shortlisted countries: Ghana, Nigeria or Sudan.

Within Canada, several communities are also struggling to gain access to safe drinking water. Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario has been under a boil water advisory for over 20 years. According to Health Canada, “as of January 31, 2016, there were 135 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 86 First Nation communities across Canada, excluding British Columbia,” something the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to end within five years of taking office during his election campaign.

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WATCH: First Nations fighting for what we all take for granted—clean drinking water.