Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Water Supply and Treatment

Our research focuses on low-cost approaches to measuring and improving drinking water quality in developing countries, and on working with key stakeholders so that this information leads to improvements in safe water access.


Dr. Sara MarksWater Supply and Treatment GroupTel. +41 58 765 5631Send Mail

Research themes and projects

  • Geogenic Contamination
    Naturally occurring chemical contaminants affect the health of millions of people worldwide. The two most important contaminants, in terms of health impact, are arsenic and fluoride.
    In order to reduce the consumption of geogenically contaminated water, economic, institutional, and psychological factors are at least as important as technical ones. The Water Resource Quality (WRQ) project brings together researchers from different fields to develop a holistic framework for mitigation of arsenic and fluoride contamination of drinking water.
  • Microbial Contamination
    In many areas worldwide the central water infrastructure is not available at all, or not reliable, leading to microbially contaminated water at the tap.
    In such cases, decentralized water treatment such as filtration, chlorination, boiling, or solar disinfection (SODIS) can be applied. Our current main research project centers on ultrafiltration with the Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filter technology.
  • Monitoring and Surveillance
    Sound management of chemical and microbial drinking water quality is frequently hampered by inadequate monitoring and surveillance. The WST group supports development of capacity for water quality monitoring and surveillance, by making use of new and emerging testing approaches which can be applied under challenging circumstances, by people with little technical background. As water quality data becomes increasingly available, monitoring and surveillance can better inform the design and redesign of projects, policies, and global programmes such as post-2015 development goals.


This collaborative project with Winrock International will assess the impact of Multiple-use Water Services (MUS) projects in Burkina Faso and Tanzania.
The objective of this collaborative project with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation is to improve access to potable water in remote rural areas of Mid-Western Nepal.
Assessing uptake of arsenic in food products and current practices in drinking water quality monitoring.


Dr. Sara MarksWater Supply and Treatment GroupTel. +41 58 765 5631Send Mail
Dr. Maryna PeterTel. +41 58 765 5074Send Mail
Ariane SchertenleibTel. +41 58 765 5323Send Mail