I recently had the opportunity to meet Greg Allgood, the Director of Proctor and Gamble’s Safe Drinking Water Progam. Mr. Allgood spoke at the SAIS Year of Water: Water and Agriculture conference in D.C. and demonstrated the effectiveness of P&G’s PUR packets to purify water for drinking, hand washing and cooking. He started with a gallon jar of murky bacteria ridden water and added some of the PUR powder and stirred for 5 minutes while he continued to describe what was happening. Once the particles settled out, he filtered the water into another jar. It looked very clear, but he said, “Don’t drink the water yet.” It still needed to sit for 20 minutes while the chlorine killed the bacteria. At the end of his presentation, Mr. Allgood and Erik Peterson of the Global Strategy Institute both drank the purified water.Mr. Allgood also spoke at a briefing event for the Bipartisan House Water Caucus the next day. Just as he reported at the Water and Agriculture Conference, he noted that more children die each year from diarrhea than from malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by improving access to safe drinking water (and even more by improving sanitation). Again Mr. Allgood demonstrated the PUR packet’s effectiveness with another jar of murky water. This time, I got to try the water. Since the packets are designed to treat 10 liters of water, he didn’t use an entire packet but just enough to ensure that the water was well treated. The water was as clear as any water from the tap I’ve seen. As for the taste, it wasn’t half bad. There was no strong chemical taste and Mr. Allgood assured me that with the 10:1 mixture, the taste was even better. I have pictures posted on flickr of the water before and after.