For nearly two years, residents of the remote Mexican village of La Mancalona, most of whom are subsistence farmers, have operated and maintained a solar-powered water purification system engineered by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The system consists of two solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity; the panels, in turn, power a set of pumps that push water through semiporous membranes. The reverse-osmosis filtration process purifies both brackish well water and collected rainwater, producing about 1,000 liters of purified water a day for the 450 community members.

According to the MIT team, the system is uniquely designed to adapt to the water quality of any given region, making the technology flexible and affordable for a range of environments. Various water purification processes can be utilized, including reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, or electrodialysis.

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