REACH: Establishing a Drinking Water Security Strategy for Rural Nepal
In rural Nepal, 92% of households have access to an improved drinking water source. Yet assessments of microbial contamination in Mid-Western Nepal shows that 70 - 80% of taps are not delivering water that is safe for drinking. Achieving Sustainable Development Goal Target 6.1 (SDG 6.1), to deliver “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all,” is especially challenging for remote rural settings facing multiple obstacles. These include unreliable supply chains for sampling materials, the high cost of laboratory equipment, and unreliable or non-existent access to electricity.
Participatory Action for Long-Term Arsenic-Safe Water (PACT)
This health related behaviour change research focuses on the prevention of arsenicosis and prevention of diseases caused by microbial contamination of drinking and cooking water in Bihar, India. Many safe water mitigation options exist, but most of the community based infrastructure is functional and not used. Combined, intervention on psychological ownership and habitual behaviour can lead to a long-lasting functionality and sustainable use of the safe water infrastructure. The effectiveness and the way how these concepts change peoples behaviour through psycho-social factors are subject to this research. The project takes place in Arsenic-affected areas of Bihar.
SMALL: Water Supply and Sanitation Service Provision in Small Town at the Urban-Rural Intersection
Project SMALL aims to support the development of applicable and sustainable water and sanitation provision models for small towns in Sub-Saharan Africa. Practice and research have traditionally focused either on distinct urban centers or rural communities. However, areas under transition, including small towns throughout Uganda and Mozambique, do not easily fit the definitions used by rural or urban planners. Small towns therefore lack clear guidance on applicable water and sanitation service models and, as a result, suffer from poor progress in expanding access to safely managed water and adequate sanitation. This project aims to identify and account for the specific needs, opportunities and challenges of transition zones in Uganda and Mozambique when devising improved service provision models, focusing on the experiences of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and the Administração de Infraestruturas de Abastecimento de Água e Saneamento (AIAS).
Adapting Water Quality Testing Tools and Methods
The demand for water quality testing is rising globally, driven by efforts to meet SDG 6’s drinking water targets and, more generally, a growing awareness of widespread contamination of drinking water supplies of all types. However, access to the equipment, materials and logistical support needed for routine monitoring remains concentrated in urban centers, with slow diffusion of even basic water testing tools to non-urban areas. Our research in this area aims to test and adapt materials, equipment and laboratory protocols, with an emphasis on overcoming the major technical, logistic and financial barriers that impede local uptake.
Identifying factors contributing to sustained functionality of water supply infrastructure
As efforts to rapidly expand access to drinking water supplies intensify under SDG 6, concerns have been raised about the risks of wasted investments and poorly maintained projects. The WST group's research on system functionality aims to inform program managers and national governments concerned with ensuring the longevity of water infrastructure. These studies rely on variable-oriented designs and moderate to large sample sizes to identify factors determining project outcomes.
Compendium: Drinking Water Systems and Technologies from Source to Consumer
The Compendium combines and discusses the entire range of drinking water technologies, approaches and concepts relevant for rural, peri-urban and urban contexts in a single concise and well-structured document. It is a comprehensive and user-friendly manual that supports decision making for developing drinking water supply and treatment systems in the context of the global south. Technologies from six functional groups build drinking water systems applicable for different water sources, scales and contexts. The two-page information sheets developed for each technology provide major design, O&M considerations and key decision criteria. They link the choice of the technologies to key aspects of the enabling environment and crosscutting issues.
Evaluating Household Water Filters for Use in Emergency Contexts
Point-of-use water treatment is essential for ensuring the safety of drinking water during humanitarian emergencies. Over nine months an interdisciplinary team conducted a comparative analysis of five water treatment devices in emergency contexts in Palestine, Kenya and Somalia. Filters were assessed in terms of technical performance, acceptance and consistency of use. Based on the study results, the team delivered recommendations to manufacturers for filter design modifications to improve the suitability of household water filters for vulnerable populations.
Ultrafiltration (UF) is a promising technology for decentralised water treatment in developing countries; yet, a major hindrance to long-term operation of UF is membrane fouling. This leads to permeate flux losses, increased membrane cleaning routines and high operating costs. Several researchers have studied coagulation pre-treatment of feed water to overcome fouling, but little research exists on surface water sources characterised by the concentrated organic and inorganic matter content found throughout Uganda. This study examined the performance of a UF system for drinking water treatment, using polyaluminium chloride (PACl) coagulant for fouling control
Multiple-use Water Services Impact Evaluation
People living in poor rural areas need water for domestic and productive activities. Multiple-use water services (MUS) is an integrated water service delivery approach that takes into account households’ range of water needs as the starting point when planning, financing, and managing water supply services for rural communities.
Water-Energy-Environment (3E) Programme
The Water-Energy-Environment (3E) programme was launched in 2012 with funding support from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), with the aim to support scientific partnerships between the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Swiss universities and institutes (EPFL, HEIG VD and EAWAG).