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10th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater International 2001"
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001

Section 3: Rainwater: Quality Issues

Paper 3.6

Solar Disinfection of Water:(A Case Study from Kenya)

Stephen Burgess
ACK Eldoret Region
Christian Community Services


The Water Supply and Sanitation Project being implemented by the Christian Community Services, works with rural self help groups to improve their access to clean, safe, domestic water. Operating in the North Rift area of Kenya in Uasin Gishu District the groups are building household rainwater catchment systems, protecting shallow hand dug wells and using rope and washer pumps. This provides for water supply, but one important issue is how to ensure the water is safe. As the objective is to improve the health status of the community, environmental hygiene and sanitation training and awareness raising has been undertaken in order to reduce the risk of waterborne disease transmission, (Faecal - oral cycle ).

Rainwater, collected in the roof catchment tanks, is a good source of safe water provided precautions are taken to maintain cleanliness of the RWCS. Other sources have the risk of contamination by pathogens that cause diseases, particularly the rivers, unprotected shallow wells and springs that are a common source of water in the area. The community members report a high incidence of diarrhoea, and even typhoid, suggesting that a contamination problem exists.

Currently the community members treat their water by settlement, storage and disinfection by boiling but due to time pressure and the effort involved in collecting firewood and boiling water the practice is often neglected leading to a high incidence of waterborne diseases.

An alternative method of water disinfection, SODIS, Solar Disinfection of water has been promoted with some of the groups to provide safe, household drinking water. This paper reports the experiences from these groups.

The technique of SODIS has been researched and reported widely ( Acra et al., 1984; Wegelin et al., 1994; Lawand et al.,1988; Sommer et al., 1997). The following technical details are taken from a series of Technical notes; ( EAWAG/ SANDAC, 2000 ).

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