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Finalist World Award - Category Water

Submitted by: Safe Water Ceramics of East Africa
Country: United Republic of Tanzania

Ceramic Pot Filters for water treatment

In 2009, SWCEA, a small, innovative Tanzanian NGO, introduced the ceramic pot water filter ‘CPF’ to Tanzania as a way to treat water for household use. CPFs treat contaminated water by way of filtration, thereby reducing the demand for conventional water treatments like boiling water which uses non-renewable bio-mass (i.e. wood) and fossil fuels and also produces carbon emissions. The CPFs are manufactured using locally available materials and labor and are simple, low cost, and easy to use. The core of the SWCEA solution is a proven household water treatment and safe storage method.
 
The CPF consists of a porous, round-bottom-pot-shaped filter element made of kiln-fired clay impregnated with colloidal silver. The porous clay acts as a physical barrier to microorganisms and the silver acts as a bacteriostasis. The ceramic filter element is set into a plastic receptacle bucket fitted with a spigot and a lid. This unit provides safe storage, thereby protecting already filtered water from recontamination before use. Raw water seeps through the ceramic filter element by gravity at a rate of 2 to 4 liters per hour. Its pore size is small enough to remove harmful microorganisms at the rate of 99.99%, producing potable water. The filter element allows a family to produce about 30 liters per day with 3 to 4 fillings, or more if needed. Maintenance consists of scrubbing the ceramic filter element periodically to unclog pores and washing the receptacle bucket to prevent bacterial growth. It is manufactured and distributed locally, produces enough cool and natural tasting water for a family’s daily use; it has a 5 year lifespan, costs only $ 0.0007 per liter and reduces carbon emissions by up to 2 tons per household. The filtered water has no significant taste issues (as is the case with chemical treatment). The filters are functionally stable in that there is only one moving part (the tap), and they require no external energy source (such as UV lamps) or consumables (such as chlorine packets or media that must be regenerated or replaced).
 
This project aims to train village sales agents to become clean water entrepreneurs and facilitate their entry into the sector, while targeting the most vulnerable population, children age 5 and under. SWCEA has partnered with CARE International to include the CPF in CARE’s existing Village Saving and Loans Associations (VLSAs) that comprise of over one million members and Village Agents across Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. The VSLA program uses training and provision of access to products and micro-finance to empower the typically female Village Agent to become involved in growing markets by establishing their own micro enterprises.

WATER


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