She Made a Bag That Cleans Water in 30 Minutes!
“My name is Tricia Compas-Markman. I live in the Bay Area where I founded a company that innovates tech solutions for disaster relief. My biggest invention is a Waterbag that can clean contaminated water in only 30 minutes called the DayOne Waterbag.”
Why does my work matter?
“Major disasters occur every year — whether in Haiti, Indonesia, New Orleans (U.S.), Thailand, Ethiopia or the Philippines. Each year, over 255 million people are affected by natural disasters. Without access to clean water, they face potentially life-threatening waterborne illnesses. Relief organizations do a tremendous job in instantly reacting to disasters anywhere in the world, but damaged roads and long distances mean days can pass before solutions arrive. Or alternate water treatment devices are too costly or ineffective in treating muddy floodwaters or chemically contaminated waters. Thus, a compact, easy-to-use water innovation is needed. This is where DayOne Response comes in – our company provides a family with a minimum of 2 months of clean drinking water, bridging the gap between disasters and long-term water provision.”
How does the DayOne Waterbag work?
“The DayOne Waterbag is an 10L backpack with an all-in-one solution. Essentially, you fill the bag with contaminated water, add a Proctor & Gamble water treatment packet, hang it from a tree and shake vigorously for 5 minutes, then wait 25 minutes for the water to clear. Then, you can drink directly from the bag.”
How did I end up doing this?
“My own motivation for working on clean drinking water solutions started in my undergraduate work, when I co-founded the Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo University chapter of Engineers Without Borders. It was through this experience that I was exposed to what clean drinking water can mean to individuals, children, families and overall communities. While in school, I worked with Dr. Tryg Lundquist to design and develop what is now the DayOne Waterbag technology. Shortly after graduating, I founded DayOne Response to go beyond an idea and create a solution that could be easily deployed in areas where household water treatment tools are desperately needed.”
What has been most challenging about doing my work?
“One of the major lessons I learned early on and that continues to stand true is that design is only 10% of the overall solution. While the design is important, there are many factors that affect the overall usability and success in making an impact. These factors include cultural circumstances, user experience, financing, ease-of-use, distribution, supply chain, maintenance, costs and overall business model. For me as an engineer and as the CEO of DayOne Response, all of these factors play an important role in our strategy, our work with partners and ultimately, the true benefit of technology for individuals or communities using these tools day in and day out.”
Have I experienced any major transformative moments?
“Oh yes, very much so! It’s exciting to see how the Waterbag is creating behavior changes within communities. I remember in Cote d’lvoire meeting a community member using the DayOne Waterbag in response to a cholera scare. He said, ‘When I saw the dirt at the bottom of the bag, I said [to] myself, I will never again drink the water directly from the pond.’ The transparency of the Waterbag is a big factor in this and we are excited to repeatedly hear this from the field.”
Where am I going with my enterprise?
“Over the past year, we have often been asked about what we were doing in the U.S. to address water needs at home. We took this to heart and launched our domestic campaign at PrepperCon in Sandy, Utah. In 2016, we will continue to expand our preparedness solutions for earthquakes, hurricanes and floods or for those eager to adventure on an outdoor excursion. Additionally, we are demonstrating the energy efficiency of the Waterbag to the U.S. military both for troop needs and humanitarian assistance.”
What do I envision for the world?
“I envision a world where everyone has access to basic needs on a daily basis – whether it be access to clean drinking water, food, sanitation, shelter, education or jobs. I want to change the IRFC stat that 663 million people do not have access to clean water. Our work is needed every day and this keeps me motivated!”
What advice do I have for up-and-coming female social innovators?
“The best advice I’ve received and would like to share is that you can’t do it alone. Build your support network of mentors, advisors and team. The more you can work with others the farther you will go. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The ASK is always important.