Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

SODISWATER — Result In Brief

Project ID: 31650
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Ireland

Clean water for the third world

New European technology can disinfect water just by putting it under the sun for eight hours. The EU is making sure this technology will be distributed to all.
Clean water for the third world
The availability of clean drinking in third world countries, especially during or after disasters such as floods or wars, can save many lives and should be an inalienable right for everyone. The EU-funded project 'Solar disinfection as an appropriate household water treatment and storage ... against childhood diarrhoeal disease in developing countries or emergency situations' (Sodiswater) successfully addressed this need.

The project is based on solar disinfection (SODIS), a simple technique involving the purification of contaminated water simply by exposure in transparent containers to eight hours of sunlight. This can help reduce diarrhoea in children caused by waterborne diseases and is ideal for developing countries.

Encouraging the use of this technique in developing countries, Sodiswater demonstrated the technology's effectiveness, worked on a sustainable model of adoption and promoted relevant research results. Project work involved health impact assessments, study of pathogen inactivation and enhancement of the technology.

In addition, the project investigated risk factors related to diarrhoea and the level of acceptance of SODIS. Toxicity studies recommended that bottles be replaced every six months and called for more research on photodegradation of products.

Sodiswater also looked at the current effectiveness of the system, how new technologies could improve it and how it could be expanded to treat higher water volumes.

Numerous waterborne microbes were investigated for their susceptibility to SODIS, which on the whole proved to be competent in eradicating them. However, its application on a wider scale required that the method be continuously assessed and improved to ensure that pathogenic organisms were killed. Team members proposed inexpensive sensors to inform users that the water has become potable.

Project partners tested new prototypes and validated their feasibility, calling however for improved distribution channels prior to introducing new innovations. They closely studied how to adopt the technology and organised a conference on the outcomes of the project.

In all, Sodiswater successfully proved the effectiveness of solar radiation for disinfecting water. If the technology is properly exploited, the positive impact on communities across the globe will be immeasurable.

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