Tulip FLOW Siphon water filter for emergency situations

Organisation: Basic Water Needs B.V.

Partners: Jacana Business Empowerment; Smart Paani Pvt. Ltd; Sustainable World Ecuador Trafilag S.A.

Location: The Netherlands; Zambia; Nepal; Ecuador

Type of grant: WASH

Status: Ongoing


The Tulip FLOW filter is a portable, gravity operated water purifier that is easy to use, maintain and store, and highly appropriate for emergency situations.

What is the humanitarian need?

In emergency situations access to safe water is often disrupted. It is of great importance to provide the affected population with access to safe drinking water to prevent diseases like cholera and diarrhoea from spreading. This requires a method of making water safe that is:

  • easy to use and operate (as there is often limited time or capacity to train each household);
  • affordable;
  • requires no energy or infrastructure;
  • is packable and efficient in transport;
  • will provide at least enough safe water for one family/one year;
  • doesn’t need replacement parts;
  • is robust and light weight, in case of refugee migration situations.

What is the innovative solution?

The Tulip FLOW filter (or FLOW filter), is a portable, gravity operated water purifier that is easy to use and store. It purifies an average of 25 liters of water per hour. Its intuitive backwash function ensures that the filter stays clear and fit for purification and has a fast flow rate. The water filter is based on a micro membrane filtration technology and is an improved model of the existing Tulip Siphon filter, which has a ceramic filter element.

Main features:

  • The FLOW filter will fit into a jerry can, which is the main method of water collection and water storage in households in many low-income countries and in emergency situations.
  • User friendly water filter with an intuitive backwash system.
  • Substantially more affordable as compared to membrane filters with similar filter capacities.
  • Replacement cartridge available and easy to replace (no throw-away system).

What are the expected outcomes?

We will finalise the prototype of the FLOW filter and test it in households in Nepal, Zambia and Ecuador. Based on our findings and feedback, the design will be finalised and the product will be made ready for largescale production.

At the finalisation of the project, we expect to have a water filter that can provide a household of five with safe drinking water for at least three years and is appropriate for (post-) emergency situations due to its affordability, intuitive usability, durability, packability and sustainability.


Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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