Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


WATERSPOUTT Report Summary

Project ID: 688928
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WATERSPOUTT (Water - Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment Technologies)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

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 SODIS Harvested Rainwater Reactor, to be tested in South Africa and Uganda; b) a SODIS Transparent Jerrycan, to be tested in Ethiopia; c) a SODIS Ceramic Filter, to be tested in Malawi

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Work Package 1: Harvested Rainwater Reactor (HRW)
M18: Existing installations investigated in South Africa and Uganda; Four reactors constructed for field testing and tested in laboratory; UV dose indicator constructed. Mathematical model developed; Field sites in South Africa and Uganda selected; Approval for Health Impact Assessment obtained

Work Package 2: Transparent Jerrycan (TJC)
M18: Existing situation investigated in Ethiopia; Prototype designed; Local plastic manufacturer in Ethiopia identified; Plastic samples obtained and tested in the lab for UV transmittance; Commercial jerrycan selected for field testing and tested in the lab; Field sites in Ethiopia selected; Approval for Health Impact Assessment obtained; Baseline survey conducted;

Work Package 3: Solar-Ceramic Filtration
M18: Existing situation investigated in Malawi; Several possible prototypes designed and tested in the laboratory; Final prototype selected; Approval for health Impact Assessment obtained

Work Package 4: Disinfection and Enhancement Parameters
M18: Mathematical model for physical parameters affecting SODIS-mediated 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; Initial toxicological analysis of water containing pesticides and drugs, before and after treatment with SODIS completed.

Work Package 5: Social Science
M18: Baseline surveys conducted in the target countries; Effect of gender in the potential adoption of WATERSPOUTT technologies investigated; 12 Shared Dialogue Workshop completed; Plan of educational program drafted and authorities contacted in Mekelle

Work Package 6: Communication, Dissemination, Outreach and Commercialization
M18: Website completed; social media presence established on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and ResearchGate; Several events attended; Publications

Work Package 7: Coordination and Management
M18: All deliverables provided on schedule; Finances received from Commission and distributed to partners in a timely fashion; Kick-Off Meeting (Dublin July 2016), General Assembly (Stellenbosch May 2017) and Steering Committee meetings (Rome Nov 2016 and Almeria Nov 2017) arranged, hosted and completed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

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 is responsible for a significant reduction of childhood diarrhea and dysentery, and can improve significantly child development. Nevertheless it remains the least frequently adopted method of household water treatment in underserviced communities. The reasons for this are manifold but 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.

Recent studies conducted by WATERSPOUTT partners (RCSI, CIEMAT-PSA, NUIM) conclusively demonstrated that transparent containers of volumes greater than 2L are suitable for SODIS. More specifically, by M18 the WATERSPOUTT partners successfully demonstrated that SODIS takes place successfully in a harvested rainwater reactor 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/ceramic filtration device that can be used to reduce turbity and improve uptake, in addition to disinfection.

In addition, WATERSPOUTT is researching ways to improve the effectiveness of SODIS, especially against cysts, viruses and thermotolerant bacteria. Several type of 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. The uptake of the WATERSPOUTT technologies will be greatly affected by the social context, therefore 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

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