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Water - Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - WATERSPOUTT (Water - Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment Technologies)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-05-31

The WHO and UNICEF estimate that at least 2 billion people around the world do not have reliable access to safe drinking water. Most of these people live in areas which, due to technical, geographical and / or socio-political reasons, are not connected to any municipal piped water. Entire communities obtain drinking water from unsafe sources (e.g. untreated surface water) and are continuously at risk of contracting disease by exposure to waterborne pathogens, such as fecal bacteria and viruses. Contaminated water transmit diseases such diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and polio. Diarrheal disease only kills 502,000 people each year, and the health costs associated to waterborne diseases might represent more than one third of the income of a poor household. (Source: WHO Drinking Water Fact Sheet, updated July 2017).

The United Nations, with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number six, committed to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. According to the WHO definition, water is considered safe when it comes from an improved source, which is a source that is not exposed to fecal contamination. In the transition phase between from unsafe to improved source however, people are still at risk. In addition, even water from an improved source can become contaminated during handling and storage.

WATERSPOUTT aims at providing safe drinking water to communities which rely on unsafe sources. The overall objective is to manufacture and validate in the relevant environment three SODIS-based technologies that can produce a minimum of 20 L/day safe drinking water. In parallel, a social science programme has been structured to study the social factors influencing water management, liaison with the local authorities, and propose economically sustainable solutions to facilitate the adoption of the WATERSPOUTT technologies.

The three technologies that are going to be developed within WATERSPOUTT are: a) a Harvested Water Reactor (HWR); b) a Transparent Jerrycan (TJC); c) a SODIS Bucket + filter
WP1: Harvested Water Reactor (HWR)
M18: Installations investigated in South Africa and Uganda; Four reactors constructed and tested in laboratory; UV dose indicator constructed. Mathematical model developed; Field sites in South Africa and Uganda selected; Health Impact Assessment approved
M36: Four field prototypes installed in South Africa and Uganda. Water Safety Plan prepared. field study ongoing

WP2: Transparent Jerrycan (TJC)
M18: Prototype designed; Local manufacturer in Ethiopia identified; Plastic samples tested for UV transmittance; PET TJC selected for field testing and tested in the lab; Field sites in Ethiopia selected; Health Impact Assessment approved; Baseline survey conducted;
M36: Test with simulated light completed on PET TJC; TJCs transported to field sites; Health Impact Assessment commenced

WP3: SODIS Bucket
M18: Situation investigated in Malawi; Prototypes designed and tested in lab; Final prototype selected; Health Impact Assessment approved
M36: Lab tests for final prototype completed; Health Impact Assessment commenced

WP4: Disinfection and Enhancement Parameters
M18: Model for physical parameters affecting SODIS inactivation of bacteria developed; Mechanistic model of E.coli inactivation developed; Study on effect of dissolved iron and organic matter completed; inactivation of C. parvum and E.coli in presence of H2O2 tested; Toxicological analysis of water before and after SODIS, completed.
M36: Mechanistic models of C.parvum and MS2 virus inactivation developed; influence of ions, natural organic matter, and hydrogen peroxide on SODIS investigated; toxicology of plastic materials for WP1-WP3 completed

WP5: Social Science
M18: Baseline surveys conducted; Effect of gender on adoption of WATERSPOUTT technologies investigated; 12 Shared Dialogue Workshop completed; Plan of educational program drafted and authorities contacted in Mekelle
M36: 9 Shared Dialogue Workshop Completed; Educational package introduced to fieldsites

WP6: Communication, Dissemination, Outreach and Commercialization
M18: Website completed; social media presence established on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and ResearchGate; Several events attended; Publications
M36: Communication material updated; continued presence at events; Linkedin and Youtube channels launched; Publications; sister project engaged (meeting of representatives)

WP7: Coordination and Management
M18: Kick-Off Meeting (Dublin July 2016), General Assembly (Stellenbosch May 2017) and Steering Committee meetings (Rome Nov 2016 and Almeria Nov 2017) hosted.
M36: 2 General Assemblies (Entebbe May 2018, Mekelle May 2019) and one Steering Committee meeting (Vienna Nov 2018)
Solar disinfection (SODIS) is a point-of-use, household water treatment that uses solar UVA and infra-red energy to inactivate pathogens in water stored in transparent containers and placed in direct sunlight. SODIS water disinfection is usually carried out in 2L PET water bottles. SODIS ican reduce childhood diarrhea and dysentery, and improve child development. Nevertheless it remains the least frequently adopted method of household water treatment in underserviced communities. One of the most frequently cited obstacles to SODIS adoption is the workload and small batch volume associated with using locally available 2L PET bottles.

WATERSPOUTT partners RCSI, CIEMAT-PSA, NUIM conclusively demonstrated that transparent containers of volumes greater than 2L are suitable for SODIS. More specifically, SODIS takes place successfully in a harvested water reactors able to process ca 125 L water per day and potentially supply schools, in a transparent 20 L Jerrycan that could consequently be used for collection, disinfection, transport and storage of drinking water, and in a 20 L combined SODIS storege + filtration device that can be used to reduce turbity and improve disinfection. In addition, WATERSPOUTT wants to improve the effectiveness of SODIS, especially against cysts, viruses and thermotolerant bacteria. Different plastics have been tested in relation to their absorption of UV-B radiation, in order to identify materials which might produce a better SODIS effect. Physicochemical characteristics of water, viability of target pathogens and toxicity effects for several materials exposed to sunlight are being evaluated. Finally, WATERSPOUTT is studying the social context in the target communities. Social scientists from the consortium are carrying out a serie of workshops (Shared Dialogue Workshops) with the double objective of understanding the social factors governing water management, and to advocate for safe drinking water and proper use of SODIS.

Potential Impact:
The WATERSPOUTT technologies are intended to be entirely manufacturable and commercialisable in the target countries. In addition to the health benefits, they will create employment and economic benefits for citizens resource-poor nations. At the European Level, the same technologies could be adapted where traditional water treatment is not possible, especially relation to solar treatment of harvester rainwater, for example in remote communities separated from standard water supplies (islands) or for HRW/grey-water usage in Europe
HRW reactor for 100 L
20 L containers undergoing SODIS
Collecting water from an unprotected source