Basic Information

Our Solution

Gravity Water Systems

Our solution's stage of development:


Our solution:

Gravity Water provides urban communities in developing countries with access to an onsite, sustainable, and long-term source of safe drinking water through a system that combines rainwater harvesting, above surface storage, and gravity powered filtration.

Our pitch:

The problem:

Approximately 780 Million people, the majority who live in urban communities in developing nations, lack access to a safe source of drinking water. The primary problem these communities face is that their water source is contaminated by fecal bacteria from human waste, which is the leading cause of water-related illness and death around the world. Since most developing countries don’t have the public infrastructure to manage human waste and/or treat water for human consumption, creating an immediate solution requires providing communities in need with a sustainable solution that can be managed and operated on a community level.

Why our solution will solve the problem:

Using rainwater as the primary source for drinking water and human consumption has two major benefits. First, harvesting rainwater before it touches the ground prevents contamination from human waste from ever coming into contact with the source of water people consume, largely reducing the risk of waterborne illness and death. Second, using rainwater and storing it at an elevated level provides a free and sustainable energy source, gravity, which can be used to push water through a filtration system without dependency on electricity or pumps.

Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

Each Gravity Water System will provide an onsite, long term source of safe drinking water that is sustainable and 100% energy-free. Gravity Water focuses its impact at public schools in developing nations, with children from 2 to 15 years of age as the primary benefactors of the systems. Each System is co-developed with local community members, with the goal of providing local empowerment and community-based management. Gravity Water aims to develop initiatives that can be self-managed, maintained, and implemented by local members of each nation within three years of the Project’s initial development in each region it operates.

How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: Develop an onsite source of safe drinking water for children at public schools in developing nations.
    Measurement Plan: Install Gravity Water Systems at public schools in communities within developing nations. Each system is designed with adequate storage to provide each student with one liter of drinking water per day for a 90-day drought.
  • Outcome: Independent management, maintenance, and operation of Gravity Water Systems by local community members within three years of initial project development within the community.
    Measurement Plan: Year 1: a selected local community organizer assists the Gravity Water Team develop Systems. Year 2: Gravity Water Team assists the community organizer develop Systems. Year 3: Gravity Water Team oversees independent implementation by community organizer.
  • Outcome: Increased access to safe drinking water and reduction in waterborne illness and disease amongst students.
    Measurement Plan: Annual reports are developed at each location to assess change in student body size, rate of consumption, and direct and indirect assessments on waterborne illness rate amongst students.

The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Child
  • Low-income economies (< $1005 GNI)
  • Non-binary
  • Urban
  • Rural

The technologies we employ:

  • Civil engineering
  • Environmental engineering

Why our solution is unique:

Gravity Water Systems are the first and only systems that combine rainwater harvesting, above surface storage, and gravity powered filtration, to provide on-site safe drinking water. Using rainwater as the primary water source eliminates the threat of human waste contamination, which is the primary cause of waterborne illness and death, and allows for the system to filter the rainwater without dependency on electricity, which is commonly unavailable in developing nations. In addition, using gravity removes the requirement for pumps, which are the most common parts of water systems to break and the hardest to replace.

Why our solution is human-centered:

Gravity Water Systems are built hand-in-hand with the communities they serve. Involving community members in every step of the process not only provides the education and understanding on how the System works, but also instills local ownership and pride in the System, increasing the potential for System upkeep and management. Since Gravity Water Systems are built by local community members with locally sourced supplies, management and maintenance of the systems aren’t dependent on external or western factors. The simplicity of Gravity Water Systems allow all members of the community to understand it, increasing the community’s adoption of the System.

How people will access our solution:

Gravity Water Systems are built on-site, using local labor and locally sourced supplies. Since the most expensive parts of the system (the water tanks and tank stand) are the most durable and have lifespans of many decades, the cost of upkeep is minimal, with an estimated filter replacement cost of $0.10 USD per person per year. Since Gravity Water Systems are built at public schools, distribution of the resource is equitable amongst students, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic background.

Technology-Readiness Level:

6-8 (Demonstration)
Business Plan

Our organization:


How we will sustain our team financially:

Gravity Water uses a multi-tiered approach to accessing funds that will allow the sustainable growth if it’s mission throughout the future. The following highlight the current methods used: 1. Monthly Memberships: Supporters can sign up as monthly donors through Gravity Water’s website, providing a monthly donation to “sponsor” clean water for a child in need. 2. Special Events and Fundraisers: Gravity Water works with local communities to host events focused on generating funds for clean water systems 3. Gravity Water Youth Initiative: Gravity Water works with public schools in the U.S. to host school-wide fundraisers each year. 4. Business Partnerships: Partnering with businesses that want to support clean water efforts provides a sustainable source of income for Gravity Water’s mission. Grants: Many grants exist for clean water relief throughout the world; developing relationships with granting agencies will assist Gravity Water in growing its impact throughout the future.

The factors limiting our success:

The primary factors that limits Gravity Water’s ability to succeed include access to financial capital to develop the Systems and create sustainable incomes for full-time management of the organization, lack of ability to deliver materials to very remote regions that aren’t accessible by road, lack of sufficient precipitation in certain regions (15%-20% of developing countries), and sociopolitical “roadblocks” (ex. social oppression, war, etc…)  in developing nations that may reduce Gravity Water’s ability to operate.

How long we have been working on our solution:

2 years

How long it will take to develop a pilot:

We have already developed a pilot.

How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

1-3 months

Our expected annual budget:


How much of our budget we've secured to date:


Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Maternal & Child Health
  • Water Treatment
  • Water Sourcing
  • Resilient Design

Why we're applying to Solve:

It is human nature to want to help others in need. However, creating bridges to help connect people who want to help others to the causes that are making a difference in the world is greatly needed. The Solve community serves as that bridge, allowing skilled and passionate persons to connect with causes, such as Gravity Water, allowing projects that are making an impact in people's lives to thrive. Gravity Water hopes to work with Solve to join forces with the brightest minds and most passionate persons that wish to make a difference in people’s lives around the world.

Our current partners:

Gravity Water is currently partnered with Not Just Bamboo, a sustainable  bamboo product supply business from Denmark, and has been supported and mentored throughout its initial growth by the Non-Profit Organization, We Help Nepal.

Solution Team

  • Anders Cochran Business Relations Director , Gravity Water
  • Tyler Hubbell Assistant Director, Gravity Water
  • Chelsea Marcell Media & Communications, Gravity Water
  • Nicole Poor Human Centered Designer, Gravity Water
  • Danny Wright Executive Director, Gravity Water
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