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Improving water quality at home: a new toolkit for household water treatment and safe storage


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Session on Monitoring Water Quality: What do we test for? How do we test? Why?
WASRAG Water Summit V
Lisbon, Portugal
June 21, 2013

by Ryan Rowe


Summary: This presentation aims to raise awareness of the importance of monitoring water quality in projects implemented by Rotarians around the world. To start off, I will explain why water supply projects alone may not entirely address the issue of improving access to safe drinking-water, creating the need to monitor water quality. Then, I will briefly discuss a new resource for organisations concerned about poor quality drinking-water in the home, which is a good guide with considerations about what to test for and how. Finally, I will outline some considerations and practices with respect to how to go about monitoring water quality. References for all data cited in this presentation are listed on the last two slides.

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Improving water quality at home: a new toolkit for household water treatment and safe storage

  1. 1. Improving water quality at home:  a new toolkit for household water  treatment and safe storage Session on Monitoring Water Quality: What do we test for? How do we test? Why? WASRAG Water Summit V Lisbon, Portugal June 21, 2013 Presentation by Ryan Rowe Rotary Peace Fellow 2010‐2012 District 7040, Canada
  2. 2. The Water Institute at UNC Launched 2010 by  Prof Jamie Bartram Decades of WaSH strength at UNC Bridging science,  policy and practice International and  local collaborations Photo credit: Amit Dave (Reuters).
  3. 3. • Inadequate water supply • Unsafe sanitation • Inequitable access • Time, financial cost • Disease burden • Missed opportunities POVERTY & CONFLICT 3 A vicious cycle
  4. 4. Monitoring Water Quality Why? What do we test for? How do we test?
  5. 5. Starting with the vulnerable Photo credit: Ryan Rowe, May 2013, Nairobi, Kenya.
  6. 6. Global access may be improving … Chart Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, 2012..
  7. 7. … but not where it is needed most! Chart Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, 2013.. Disparities: regional, urban v rural, rich v poor
  8. 8. Do households have “safe” water? 11% ‐ unimproved water 34% ‐ improved water 55% ‐ piped water  ?  (but…) Figures are global: including developed and developing countries. Photo credits: (1) Photographer/date unknown. (2) Ryan Rowe, June 2011, Kisumu, Kenya. (3). Ryan Rowe, July 2011, Nairobi, Kenya. Data source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, 2013.
  9. 9. Up to 3 billion need safe water! Unimproved: 765 million1 + Unsafe improved: 1 billion2 + “1.2 billion use water from  sources or systems with  significant sanitary risks”2 + Households with unsafe  water handling/storage: #?2 Photo credits: (1) & (2), Ryan Rowe, July 2011, Nairobi, Kenya. Data Sources: 1) WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, 2013. 2) Onda et al, 2012.
  10. 10. Monitoring Water Quality Why? What do we test for? How do we test?
  11. 11. There’s a lot to monitor … Environmental factors and sanitary risks, then … Behavioural factors E.coli and total thermotolerant coliforms Chlorine residual Turbidity pH value Colour and odour Nitrate and nitrite Lead, Fluoride, Arsenic
  12. 12. … so we start with critical metrics! Conduct a site inspection to identify risk factors Understand household behavioural factors E.coli and total thermotolerant coliforms Chlorine residual Turbidity Colour and odour pH value Nitrate and nitrite Lead, Fluoride, Arsenic
  13. 13. Monitoring Water Quality Why? What do we test for? How do we test?
  14. 14. Know the area around your water On‐site visual inspection of water sources to  identify hazards to water safety Checklist of questions, provides a measure of  risk Address visible risks before sampling water  quality!
  15. 15. So, if a bird is shitting in it …
  16. 16. Or, if water is handled unsafely … Uncovered water storage  is a risk Area around  water point is  unclean Photo credit: Ryan Rowe, July 2012, Lilongwe, Malawi.
  17. 17. What should you measure How often should you  measure it? Test cost and complexity vary Assessing water quality Photo credits: (1) & (2), Daniele Lantange, Tufts University.
  18. 18. These improve water quality … Ceramic filtration Flocculant /disinfectant Solar disinfection Bio‐sand filtration Chlorination Boiling?Membrane filtration
  19. 19. … this toolkit helps you do it right! Identify people in need Use effective products! Achieve correct, consistent and  sustained use Monitor, evaluate and adjust Download the toolkit:
  20. 20. Toolkit offers water quality tools Water quality indicators Sanitary inspection form and risk assessment Testing considerations Case studies
  21. 21. Three things to remember 1. We are not providing safe water to those who need it most – this is a crisis! 2. Rotarians can use a new toolkit from WHO &  UNICEF to strengthen project performance 3. Water quality monitoring should be done in  conjunction with sanitary inspections
  22. 22. The Water Institute at UNC Bringing people together  to tackle one of the world’s greatest challenges Obrigado! Photo credit: Ryan Rowe, May 2013, Nairobi, Kenya.
  23. 23. References Clasen, Thomas, Laurence Haller, Damian Walker, Jamie Bartram, and Sandy Cairncross. (2007.) Cost‐ effectiveness of water quality interventions for preventing diarrhoeal disease in developing countries.  Journal of Water and Health, 5(4):599‐608. Available at:  Fewtrell, Lorna, Rachel B. Kaufmann, David Kay, Wayne Enanoria, Laurence Haller, and John M. Colford Jr.  (2005.) Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions to reduce diarrhoea in less developed countries: A  systematic review and meta‐analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 5(1):42‐52. Available at: Onda, Kyle, Joe LoBuglio, and Jamie Bartram. (2012.) Global Access to Safe Water: Accounting for Water  Quality and the Resulting Impact on MDG Progress. International Journal of Environmental Research and  Public Health, 9:880‐894.; doi:10.3390/ijerph9030880.  Waddington, Hugh, Birte Snilstveit, Howard White, and Lorna Fewtrell. (2009.)Water, Sanitation and  Hygiene Interventions to Combat Childhood Diarrhea in Developing Countries. London, International  Initiative for Impact Evaluation. Available at:‐ reviews/details/23/. WHO & UNICEF. (2012). Toolkit for monitoring and evaluating household water treatment and safe  storage. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization. Available at:  WHO. (1997.) Guidelines for drinking‐water quality: second edition. Volume 3 – Surveillance and control of  community supplies. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization. Available at:  .
  24. 24. References WHO & UNICEF JMP. (2012.) Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2012 Update. Geneva,  Switzerland, World Health Organization; New York, USA, United Nations Children’s Fund. Available at:‐report‐2012‐en.pdf. WHO & UNICEF JMP. (2013.) Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2013 Update. Geneva,  Switzerland, World Health organization; New York, USA, United Nations Children’s Fund. Available at: