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National Academy of Engineering announces million-dollar challenge to provide safe drinking water

the Grainger Challenge Prize is to encourage the development of a household- or community-scale water treatment system to remove arsenic from the contaminated groundwater. The system must have a low life-cycle cost and must be robust, reliable, easily maintainable, socially acceptable, and affordable. As a sustainable technology, the system must also be within the manufacturing capabilities of a developing country and must not degrade other water quality characteristics or introduce pathogens.

"Sustainable development is not just about conservation and the wise use of the Earth's resources, but also about improving the quality of life for all people," said NAE President Wm. A. Wulf.

Historically, prizes have stimulated interest in creative approaches to engineering challenges. Examples include aviation prizes such as the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh and the recent Ansari X-Prize for building a private spaceship. "A challenge prize does more than just reward an individual for achieving a technical goal," Wulf explained. "It also focuses the talents of a particular community on solving a problem."

The Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability is made possible through the generous support of The Grainger Foundation. The prize is administered and managed by the National Academy of Engineering, a private, nonprofit institution that provides technology advice under a congressional charter.


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