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Marks Tey/Colombia: Firm signs £30m deal to bring clean water to two million people

PUBLISHED: 12:31 05 February 2014 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 February 2014

Left to right is Nick Clegg, Alvaro Martinez De La Vega and Michael Pritchard after signing the Memorandum of 
Understanding.

Left to right is Nick Clegg, Alvaro Martinez De La Vega and Michael Pritchard after signing the Memorandum of Understanding.

Archant

A firm from north Essex has signed a £30million deal to bring clean water to more than two million people in South America.

Marks Tey-based Lifesaver Systems Limited, which has developed a range of nano-filtration products that convert dirty water into clean, sterile drinking water, has been chosen to supply its technology to some of the poorest people in Colombia in conjunction with local charity PAIS 21.

The charity is leading a humanitarian programme to make clean water available to communities living across the country.

Yesterday, its chief executive, Alvaro Martínez De La Vega, sealed the agreement by signing a “Memorandum of Understanding” together with Michael Pritchard MBE, the founder and inventor of Lifesaver Systems.

The signing took place at the residence of the British Ambassador to Colombia in the capital, Bogota, on Monday night and was witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who is in Colombia leading a business delegation from the UK.

“I’m immensely proud to have the British company Lifesaver as part of my trade and investment delegation to Latin America, and to be here to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a $47 million (£30m) project in Colombia,” he said.

“But what Lifesaver is doing here in Colombia is more than securing a contract of business. The project beginning in March 2014 will help end water poverty by helping to bring clean, sterile drinking water to over two million people in rural and low income families across Colombia.”

Mr Clegg added;“It demonstrates how UK companies who operate on a global market can provide pioneering solutions to help support the socio-economic development of Colombia, and transform humanitarian work in countries around the world.”

The multi-million pound programme was agreed after Lifesaver’s jerrycans proved successful in a pilot project held in the Putumayo region of Columbia last year. The jerrycans hold 20 litres at a time and the filters last long enough to provide a family of four with clean water for five years. Clean water is obtained through the use of a filter that removes all harmful bacteria and viruses without the need for power, chemicals or UV light.

The technology is now used in around 100 countries and has proved effective in disaster zones such as the recent storms in Philippines and the Haiti earthquake.

Mr De La Vega said: “The pilot scheme was a great success, because it was the first time that people living in these villages had access to unlimited, free supplies of clean, sterile water for drinking and sanitation purposes.

“In addition, Lifesaver technology has delivered a number of other significant and measurable benefits, including mother and baby health, and improvements in the micro-economies of the villages.”

The next stage of the programme will see 90,000 jerrycans deployed in Colombia during 2014.

Mr Pritchard said the agreement “marks the beginning of a major national programme to eliminate water poverty across every region.”

He added: “Knowing that we will be able to secure the long-term health of over two million people is a fantastic achievement and testament to the effectiveness and track record of Lifesaver’s nano-filtration technology.”

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