A gadget that purifies and converts muddy water into potable water has been designed by a British student who will introduce it in India over the summer before producing it on a mass scale.

Oxfordshire-based student James Bartlett, 23, has designed the cheap and simple way to purify muddy drinking water without electricity. The gadget reportedly has the potential to provide millions of people across the world access to safe drinking water.

Adding chlorine is one of the cheapest and safest ways of disinfecting dirty water, but previous attempts have been either too expensive, or have not mixed the gas in the right amounts.

Bartlett’s invention has been to create a chlorination unit that costs just 1.35 pounds (Rs. 100 approx) to manufacture, and he is now waiting for a patent.

The gadget, named BlueDrop, works by harnessing the Venturi effect, which is used in carburettors to suck petrol into an engine’s air stream.

In Bartlett’s design, dirty water passing through a tube will suck in chlorine, which cleans it enough to make it drinkable.

He said early experiment showed it worked so well that, once perfected, it could make River Thames water clean enough to drink.

His invention, which he designed while studying a BSc in Industrial Design at Brunel University, was runner-up in the Xerox Innovation Award, presented to students who have come up with the best new inventions.

Bartlett said: “When this has been done before, it has had thousands of complicated metal parts to make it work, which you cannot get in rural India because the cost is too high. This project has been about designing one as cheap as possible which needs only three parts.”

He will spend his summer in India, getting feedback from people and perfecting the design before it is produced on a mass scale in India.

He said: “We want to turn it into a viable business which we can set up quickly if it works. I have tried it in the laboratory and I have been testing it in my sink at home. I’m prepared to give drinking river water a go, but a little bit more work needs to be done before I would want to try. If it works, it could save thousands of lives around the world.”

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