A billion people in the world have no access to clean water and 2m people a year die as a result of water-related diseases. It is not just a question of whether there is water, but the amount of time it takes to get it.
If you had to walk five hours a day to get a bucket of water, you would have little time to plant and tend crops or make any kind of living. Often it is the children who have to fetch the water, so their education goes out of the window too.
The Roundabout Playpump can provide a whole community with clean water, with plenty left over for irrigation and crops. Its premise is simple: sink a borehole, set up a driving mechanism with a kids' roundabout on it and watch the children play. Each hour cavorting on the device yields 1400 litres of water, which can then be stored.
The Playpumps, 650 of which have now been installed, are backed by the South African government, the country's former president Nelson Mandela, and the World Bank.
Innovation such as this is vital, because water really is the gift of life.
- Design: Roundabout.