AguaClara is a multidisciplinary engineering team based at Cornell University that develops sustainable water treatment technology. The AguaClara plant design is gravity-powered, electricity-free, and scalable to fit the needs and size of any community. Our governance model is based on community ownership, democratic governance, and technology that is specifically designed for ease of operation and to encourage pride in ownership.
AguaClara facilities on the ground in Honduras are owned and operated by their respective communities and all facilities continue to provide safe drinking water. This is particularly noteworthy in Honduras where most conventional water treatment plants do not reliably meet drinking water standards. Several towns with AguaClara facilities are experiencing reverse migration from Tegucigalpa due to their superior water.
Our Design Philosophy
The AguaClara design philosophy is a set of principles developed to ensure the long-run sustainability of the facilities we engineer. It is based on the belief, as expressed by Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, that "combining knowledge of local circumstances with modern science and technology is a crucial prerequisite for developing more efficient, sustainable infrastructure." Our design aims at optimizing the level at which water is treated while also minimizing cost and ensuring that our plants are operator-friendly. Despite functioning on the same basic process, there are major differences in design between what is effective in the developed world and what is feasible in the Global South. Almost all of the plants in the developed world rely on large amounts of electricity to monitor and operate. However, in the developing world, access to a reliable source of electricity is both doubtful and prohibitively expensive. AguaClara plants use gravity instead of pumps, and mechanical devices instead of electrical monitors, to run the plant. Since the plants are designed to be constructed using almost exclusively locally-available materials and labor, AguaClara communities also avoid the risks of failure or shut-down that plague other projects dependent upon overseas expertise and supplies.
Our Education Philosophy
The AguaClara program provides undergraduate & graduate students the opportunity to enhance their education with hands-on experience working on projects with real life applications. In 2012, the National Academy of Engineering recognized AguaClara as an exemplary program that "infuses real-world experience into engineering education."
Our Fundraising Goal
Throughout this campaign, we hope to raise money to continue to fund the groundbreaking research our members are conducting. By contributing to our cause, you are helping to fund not only the tools and materials we continually use in our lab, research, and fabrication teams but also are making sure that our labs are kept up-to-date with the most recent technology!
We are reaching out to you to become partners in our vision for clean water access for all! As alumni, friends, and newcomers to the AguaClara program, we hope that you will champion our cause and help us expand our horizons.
Thank you for your support!
For more information on the AguaClara program, visit us online at aguaclara.cornell.edu.