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Water - Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - WATERSPOUTT (Water - Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment Technologies)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-05-31

Two billion people obtain drinking water from unsafe sources, which exposes them to waterborne pathogens, such as faecal bacteria and viruses. Contaminated water transmits diseases such diarrhoea, which kills 502,000 people each year. The health costs associated to waterborne diseases represent more than one third of the income of a poor household.
WATERSPOUTT set out to provide safer drinking water to vulnerable communities that rely on unsafe water sources. It developed three Solar Disinfection (SODIS)-based technologies, which could produce between 20 and 200 L/day drinking water: i) a Harvested Water Reactor (HWR), which was tested in two primary schools in Uganda, a farm and an informal settlement in South Africa; ii) a Transparent Jerrycan (TJC), which was tested in 400 households in Ethiopia; iii) a SODIS Bucket, which was tested in 835 households in Malawi.
The project concluded that rainwater harvesting in combination with the HWRs is suitable alternative drinking water source in vulnerable communities. The HWRs are safe when used according to SODIS procedures and are effective against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. SODIS can be enhanced by triggering the photo-Fenton process, especially in presence of antagonistic compounds. The outcomes the TJC and the SODIS Bucket studies were encouraging but have not achieved sufficient sensitivity to conclusively establish whether they perform better than 2L SODIS bottle.
Our social scientists analyzed the socio-political, cultural, and economic aspects of water management within the field sites. Women and children were primarily responsible for gathering water, however it was almost always men who held the power enact substantive changes.
Communities in Uganda were positive about the HWRs. They reported the reduction of rates of diarrhoea amongst children and there was a fair understanding of the core principles about operation. The HWRs use was highly seasonal. Questions regarding the HWRs longevity were raised, especially concerning maintenance beyond the scope of WATERSPOUTT.
in Ethiopia, the majority of participants were positive about the TJC, and the less labor required compared to boiling. Participants reported either a steady, or improved rate of illness amongst their children. Participants were concerned about costs, which would make adoption of the technology difficult. Other participants indicated they would buy the products if they saw their neighbours using it
Respondents in Malawi were positive about their experience with the SODIS Bucket. A key element was the significant reduction in cases of diarrhea reported by both participants and health workers. There was also no difficulty reported actually using the buckets, though unlike in Ethiopia there was no decrease in workload reported from moving to SODIS water treatment systems.
Educational programs were developed to increase household use and uptake of the solar based technologies. Educational materials developed included user manuals, facilitator manuals, visual prompts, flipbooks. An educational video was produced. Overall, the educational programs have been successful in raising awareness about solar based technologies and their potential for providing clean drinking water for communities
The results have commercial and research exploitation potential:
a) A SODIS Harvested Water Reactor (HWR)
b) A SODIS Bucket
c) A Solar Dose Indicator (SDI)
Three results have research exploitation potential
d) A SODIS Transparent Jerrycan (TJC)
e) A complete mathematical model for predicting SODIS in different vessels
f) An model for predicting SODIS potential by geographical area
The HWR commercial exploitation is being evaluated by the social enterprise HELIOZ Gmbh, which signed a MoU with the owners of the technology and intends commercialising the reactor in India. HELIOZ commissioned an analysis of the market opportunity in India. A prototype for showcasing is going to be delivered to HELIOZ in Q4 2020.
The SODIS Bucket commercial exploitation lies in its usage as stage-two drinking water treatment technology during disaster relief operations in disaster-struck countries. This application possibilities requires however further R&D. The current manufacturer, Arkay plastics, might be therefore interested to register as a partner of the UNICEF Procurement Services and insert the SODIS Bucket to the Emergency Supply list.
WATERSPOUTT has published 41 peer-reviewed, open access papers, and created a large body of knowledge from its 4 large scale field. Key findings consisted in:
• The HWR is capable of providing 280L of treated water and in sunny conditions (2x140 L batches).
• V-shaped profiles are the simplest and most effective design for HWR reflectors;
• 20L TJC are not optimally designed. Participants in field studies emphatically prefer 10L volume;
• Naturally occurring substances such as iron or humic acid can significantly impede the efficacy of SODIS, and may impose a limit to the effective dimensions of SODIS reactors;
• Transparent polypropylene (PP) 20L buckets have potential for use as SODIS reactors;
• Cloth filters perform better and are cheaper than ceramic filters for use with 20L PP SODIS buckets;
• Health impact assessment study protocols are very susceptible to cultural norms surrounding the effect of self-reported incidence of illness and courtesy bias;
• PMMA & Polypropylene were the optimal transparent materials for manufacturing SODIS reactors
• Oestrogenic compounds are detected in treated water after prolonged exposure but not at concentrations of concern.
• Transparent plastic SODIS containers should be replaced after 6 months of use.
• UNESCO asked the WATERSPOUTT Coordinator to produce a series of 3 short narrated online presentations on solar water disinfection for use in COVID-19 situations.
• Some of the most important findings of WATERSPOUTT are being carried forward into the development in the EU H2020 project PANIWATER (GA 820718)
• The potential commercialization of the HWR in India.
• WATERSPOUTT created an additional safer water sources for the communities at the fieldsites
• WATERSPOUTT community engagement and educational programs increased local awareness of WASH principles
• In December 2019 RCSI was granted full university status, and In April 2020 RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences was ranked first in the world for ‘Good Health and Well-being’. RCSI’s coordination of the WATERSPOUTT Project contributed significantly to those achievements. In February 2020, WATERSPOUTT Coordinator, Prof. Kevin McGuigan was awarded the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences