Point-of-Use Treatment Options for Improving Household Water Quality Among Rural Populations in the River Njoro Watershed, Kenya
Sangam K. Tiwari; Marion W. Jenkins
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Global Livestock CRSP, University of California- Davis
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Abstract: Rural access to improved water supplies in Kenya stands at 46%. Consequences are apparent in the River Njoro watershed, where a majority of households fetch and use polluted river water for some or all of their domestic water needs, suffering high rates of diarrhea, typhoid, and other water-borne diseases. Responding to expressed needs for improving water quality in the watershed, the SUMAWA Project launched work to develop low-cost water treatment for household use. This brief reports findings from screening six point-of-use (POU) water treatment technologies applicable in developing countries. Operating characteristics, performance, costs, procurement, and local sustainability were reviewed and suitability of use with river water by households in the Njoro watershed was assessed. Intermittent slow-sand filtration (known as the “BioSand Filter” or BSF), ceramic clay filtration (“Filtron” pot), and chlorine disinfection were identified as suitable. Among these, the BSF was selected as most promising for application development in the Njoro watershed on the basis of robust design, easy of use, no recurrent costs, high flow rate, and ability to treat highly turbid river water. A program to develop and trial the BSF for use by high-risk households to treat polluted River Njoro water was launched in 2006 jointly with the Nakuru District Ministry of Health’s Public Health Division, and Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments of UC Davis and Egerton University. As the program wraps up, results and practical learning will be shared in upcoming research briefs.