Making Use of What Nature Gives Us Free

Nearly to one billion people around the world are living off-grid and struggling to attain water supplies on a daily basis. In an effort to address this issue, Afeka College Mechanical Engineering Student Moshe Balilti, developed an inexpensive system for collecting rainwater both efficiently and effectively.  

Moshe Balilti came up with the idea for an innovative rainwater collection system during an extra-curricular training program he participated in two years ago at the Afeka Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering - “Infrastructures for the Developing World.” Afeka conducted the program in cooperation with the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative and the US Embassy MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative) with the aim of introducing students to technologies suited to areas of the world not connected to electricity, water and sewage systems. The original idea was developed by Balilti and a fellow Mechanical Engineering student Assaf Zuaretz, and was presented during the program as “Rainin” – a rainwater collection system. After completing the course, Balilti decided to take the idea a step further, and together with Eyal Yaski-Weiss, established Hilico Off-Grid Solutions, an initiative offering a portable system for collecting, filtering and storing rainwater. 

During the monsoon season in India, summer rains are almost a daily occurrence. Photograph: Eyal Yaski-Weiss

In order to conduct a feasibility study, Balilti and Yaski-Weiss decided to take their system to the streets of Mumbai India, a city with some of the largest and poorest resource-deprived neighborhoods in the world. After demonstrating the system to hundreds of residents from Mumbai and nearby villages, it became clear that it provides an efficient and sustainable solution. Among those that showed extensive interest in purchasing the system is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that would like to distribute the Hilico system among a 400,000 resident neighborhood. 


Moshe demonstrates the system to local residents of Mumbai. Photograph: Eyal Yaski-Weiss

“Thanks to the course led by Dr. Moshe Tshuva, Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Afeka, I learned about the cleantech field in Israel, about solutions for energy and water shortages, about developing markets and of course about the intense need for applicable and cost-effective solutions for the nearly one billion people who still live off-grid. The platform provided by the program stimulated my curiosity and prompted me to continue down this road in my own way.”

What’s Next?
What began for Moshe Baliliti as a pilot for a rainwater collection system, has led him to examine additional solutions for the developing world, among them: portable restroom solutions, water supply solutions for rural areas, on-line education solutions, solar panel solutions, health insurance forslum laborers, a P2P (Peer-to-Peer) lending system, and much more.