High Quality Portable Water for Small/Remote Communities in Canada and IndiaIntegrated Water Management


The research program uses a living laboratory approach to develop novel drinking water treatment systems for small and rural communities in Canada and India.


  • A Passive Membrane System for water treatment that can be operated manually (using zero to little electrical power) or in fully automated fashion has been developed
  • A novel water treatment system for improving existing UV technology has been demonstrated, piloted and installed resulting in the removal of a boil water advisory within the Lytton First Nation
  • A provisional patent was filed in September 2016 related to the passive membrane system


Second-generation prototypes of the passive membrane system will be ready for field-testing soon. The new prototypes incorporate the knowledge gained as part of recent IC IMPACTS research, and are much simpler, both mechanically and operationally. The operation of the prototypes can also be either manual (when no/limited electrical power is available) or automated.


The proposed research focuses on an immediate and significant need both in Canada and India: the provision of high quality drinking water to residents of small and rural communities. The social, economic, political and technological constraints, characteristics of small/rural communities, make it difficult to address this need. In Canada alone, over 6 million people live in small/rural communities. Of these communities, at any given time, more than 1000 are under boil water advisories because of the poor quality of drinking water. Many are under permanent boil water advisory, which is the case for over 100 First Nation communities across Canada, emphasizing the immediate and significant need that must be addressed. In India, the water quality in many small communities is severely compromised, leading to a number of health problems, such as widespread occurrences of diarrhea. This is particularly true for the partner community in India, where in addition to gastrointestinal diseases, contaminants from anthropogenic activities are having a significant effect on the health of general population, and in particular, maternal and infant health.

A living laboratory approach involving academic, industry and community partners in Canada and India will be used, ensuring that all constraints characteristic of small/rural communities are considered, and that the overall project objectives will be met. Although the main project outcome will be the development of novel drinking water treatment systems what will be commercialized in partnership with the industrial collaborators, residents of the partner communities, as well as other small/rural communities in Canada and India, will be the main benefactors as the novel systems will provide them with high quality drinking water.



Project Team

Dr. Pierre Berube, University of British Columbia
Dr. Madjid Mohseni, University of British Columbia

Collaborating Partners

GE Water, North America
GE Water, India
BI Pure Water, Canada
INAC British Columbia
Lytton First Nation
Tl’azt’en Nation
Van Anda Improvement District (Texada Island)

Current Number of Students:  25

Key Outcomes

Deployments: 3 in Canadian Communities
Publications: 18
Presentations: 7
Patents: 1