Building a More Affordable Clean Water System


USAID funded PRESTASI-3 scholar, Maryam Karimah, arrived in the U.S. in August 2018 to pursue a Master of Science in Energy Systems at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Maryam has successfully completed two semesters of her program and is on track to graduate by December 2019.

As part of her graduate program, she has been working on a culminating project which is not a traditional master thesis, yet still a mandatory requirement for the degree.

Ms. Karimah has been working together with her lab partner Ms. Happy Hasanah (non-USAID scholar) to build a water pump that can more easily provide clean water to Indonesians living on the various islands that comprise Indonesia. Dubbed Creasion, the water pump has been the focus of Ms. Karimah's research since arriving on-campus in Fall 2018. Ms. Karimah described Creasion as an easy-to-use, affordable water pump that utilizes solar energy to evaporate and extract up to seven liters of clean, drinkable water from undrinkable water every day.

Recently Ms. Karimah and her graduate research project were featured on the local news on ABC Channel 20 for Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign. The news team was originally there to interview other students about a different project, but they found Ms. Karimah's project so interesting that they scheduled a return visit to speak with her and her lab partner about their work.

Ms. Karimah said that the idea for Creasion came to her during a trip to some smaller islands in East Indonesia before she began her studies in the U.S. in 2017. The water supply on these islands was not safe for drinking or bathing, even after being boiled. Residents had to visit another island by boat daily to acquire clean water. These trips are extremely time-consuming, taking between 4 and 6 hours. Additionally, women are the ones who are responsible for the task, leaving them little time for other pursuits. As women who have been able to pursue careers in the sciences, Ms. Karimah and her lab partner feel that not only will Creasion increase the general quality of life for residents of these islands, it will create more time for female residents to pursue different paths in life.

Ms. Karimah and Ms. Hasanah are currently working on developing a prototype of Creasion. Ms. Karimah hopes to have built several prototypes before returning home to Indonesia after her graduation in December 2019.


The news story featuring Ms. Karimah can be found in both print and video formats at the link below: