Rainwater Collector for Vulnerable Communities and Industry

Eko Group H2O+

6. Clean Water and Sanitation 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

Ekomuro H2O + is a project developed for raising awareness about the good use of water and reduction of plastic waste in cities. The system collects rainwater in a wall of reused PET bottles. This initiative helps to achieve 4 of the the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Clean water and sanitation (6) and Climate Action (13), contributing to communities, schools, homes and industries to save water through rainwater use. Industry, Innovation and infrastructure (9), the system is built in minimal space in an innovative and functional structure. Sustainable Cities and Communities (11) Ekomuro not only helps to save water or guarantee the minimum of water to vulnerable communities but brings a solution to recycle PET bottles.

Authors

Natalia Chavarro

Natalia Chavarro

Eduardo Antonio Urueña

Eduardo Antonio Urueña

School

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Professor

Gustavo A Yepes López

Gustavo A Yepes López

Innovation

Ekomuro H2O is an innovative solution to harvest rainwater in three and twenty litres reused PET bottles, interconnected within a vertical structure and connected to a PVC base. The system became a “water tank” to take advantage of the rain water. The Ekomuro is compact and resists big liquid pressures, and the design takes up minimal space, it can collect about 162 litres of water.

The system was created to save water in a practical, efficient and sustainable way. Besides its principal function, the Ekomuro hase the option to provide potable water, after an easy filtering installation.

Even though the rain water collection has existed in many cultures for years, in our age, this practice is not common and people in urban communities have not understood the importance of using it. Ignorance, lack of education and, perhaps because they have not found a comfortable way to harvest the rain, are among the principal reasons. The Ekomuro proposes an innovative way to resolve it by giving an option to the less favored population to access water, and to industry to save between 30% and 40% in cleansing and gardening activities.

“We have this resource (rain water) in our hands but we have not taken advantage of it, we would obtain a better quality of life, especially for vulnerable communities without access to a minimum amount of water ” Ricardo Alba

Rainwater Collector for Vulnerable Communities and Industry

Inspiration

Ricardo Alba, an architect from Bogota, Colombia has always been interested in having a better world. He has been working and developing ideas to mitigate climate change impact, he and his wife educated their son and daughter with the same thought, and now they work together to grow and make a difference with Eko Group, their company based in Bogota. According to Ricardo “The challenge is generating a change in people’s attitudes and have a positive impact in Colombia and other countries around the world” Ricardo said.

The Ekomuro began 8 years ago as a school environmental project, since then, it has been used to teach children in public and private schools about responsible water consumption and physics, using the collected water in garden irrigation and floor cleansing. Nowadays, more than 30 systems have been installed around Colombia in educational institutions.

Afterwards, Ricardo understood that with the Ekomuro and Ekogroup’s other important innovations the family was able to live and sustain their way of life by selling their products to industries and educational institutions. They sold the first Ekomuro to a pharmaceutical company in 2017, and for each unit sold, they give away another Ekomuro in a vulnerable community to improve people’s quality of life.

Overall impact

Ricardo and his family have generated great impact in different aspects. Principally giving access to the system for free to urban populations in precarious conditions, to use it in their homes and human consumption. “In 5 years we hope Ekomuro and other solutions we are creating, are replicated throughout the country and greatly increase sales and benefits” Ricardo Alba

They also contribute to the promotion of good environmental practices in schools, industry and homes.

Business benefit

They have a large potential for growth, with an important gross margin, as most of their materials are reused, they have the possibility of investing in marketing tools to increase sales.

With their project they have been able to engage schools and some industries, and have created strategic alliances with public and private entities to install the Ekomuro in communities around Colombia. The implementation of the project in 30 schools of the country and also the linkage with 15 companies and 10 foundations from the private sector are examples of the universality of the project.

Ricardo is developing more products to expand their portfolio, always trying to change people’s views on how they treat our natural resources and benefit the community.

Social and environmental benefit

  • The project is encouraging young people in a practical way to make responsible use of resources, and care about water preservation.They are using rainwater to clean floors, toilets and watering gardens. In private industries they are promoting corporate social responsibility, and teaching new sustainable alternatives to benefit their communities. The system can reduce water consumption by about 30%.
  • The system is built with reused PET bottles that promotes recycling and reuse of waste, reducing the environment impact.
  • Vulnerable communities have had a huge benefit, especially in Altos de Cazuca, Bogotá, where most of the habitants have no access to a minimum amount of water, and with Ekomuro they are able to harvest and access it. About 30 thousand people have been benefit with this initiative.

Interview

Ricardo Alba Torres, Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Eko Group H2O+

Eko Group H2O+

Bogotá, Cundinamarca, CO

Business Website: https://ekomuroh2o.wixsite.com/ecoh2o

Year Founded: 2011

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Ekomuro H2O is a system designed and created to collect rainwater in PET reused bottles. This system became a solution for vulnerable communities without access to aqueduct. The company has worked for years to benefit people, schools and industry with their initiative.