UV tube researchers at Berkeley have sucessfully collaborated with local NGOs and governmental institutions to initiate pilot projects in the field. The stories of current UV-tube projects is told through the organizations managing them.
Fundación Cantaro Azul
Fundación Cantaro Azul (www.cantaroazul.org) is a Mexican non-profit organization that was founded with the mission to offer affordable and effective water treatment solutions to rural communities lacking safe drinking water. The foundation works to disseminate the UV Tube technology through projects in Baja California Sur (BCS), Mexico and in Sri Lanka.
In Mexico, many people living in small rural communities lack access to safe drinking water. The UV-Tube is an appropriate household technology because often people have both electricity and piped water (although not safe to drink) in their homes. A team of Berkeley students traveled to Baja California Sur in the summer of 2004 to complete an assessment of drinking water sources. Their water testing results confirmed that more than half of the population drinks water containing fecal contamination and 10.7% of children surveyed had suffered from diarrhea in the previous week. In the summer of 2005 a project was launched with funding from UNIDO to test the field effectiveness of the UV Tube model “AquatUVo.” 24 “AquatUVos” were installed in households across two communities serving 120 people. The microbiological results from the field study show the technology was effective in eliminating potentially pathogenic organisms found in the communities’ drinking water. Also, with minimal training and guidance, nearly every household was able to learn how to properly use the UV Tube to disinfect water. In a follow-up visit conducted one year after all families expressed satisfaction with the UV tube and 20 of 24 families reported exclusively drinking water from it.
Motivated by the results of the BCS pilot project, a member of the Berkeley research team, Fermin Reygadas, co-founded Fundacion Cantaro Azul with Ian Balam, a native of Baja California, Mexico. A new version of the UV-Tube has been developed by Fundacion Cantaro Azul that includes a table, safe water storage container, and hand pump to dispense UV Tube disinfected water. Cantaro Azul is currently employing a dissemination model that emphasizes hygiene promotion and safe water storage to install UV Tubes in additional communities.
In the summer of 2005 a team of Berkeley students initiated a partnership with Sarvodaya, a Sri Lankan non-governmental organization, to develop a UV-tube designed specifically for Sri Lankan rural villages where water is fetched from communal wells. Using local resources, a ferrocement system was designed that could be shared by up to 25 families. The students, along with technical officers from Sarvodaya, installed three UV-Tubes in a tsunami affected village. As part of the program, a workshop was conducted to train Sarvodaya technical officers on how to construct UV-Tubes and conduct water quality sampling. The following December, students returned to Sri Lanka to monitor the systems, gather information from stakeholders, and install 8 more UV-Tubes. The work done by Berkeley students provided the foundation for Sarvodaya to start a UV Tube dissemination program with the support from Fundacion Cantaro Azul staff in Sri Lanka.
Haiti Outreach – Pwoje Espwa (HOPE)
In the summer of 2003, students from both MIT and UC Berkeley initiated a project in Borgne Haiti with HOPE, a local development organization, to create a technology center and install sustainable technologies such as the UV-Tube and dry toilets. The Brainstorming Technology Center was founded to offer traveling seminars and radio programs on waterborne illness prevention and simple water treatment and sanitation techniques. The staff also provides water quality testing services. Students also installed a ferrocement version of the UV-Tube at the technology center to replace expensive commercial UV systems previously built. After modifying the UV-Tube system to better meet the needs of the community, a second UV-Tube was built the following summer. This UV-Tube is currently used by community members and the center’s visitors. However, the lack of access to a reliable electricity supply limits the feasibility of the UV-Tube being implemented on a larger scale. HOPE is currently raising money to fund water supply infrastructure to serve Borgne.
In January 2003, the UV-tube project team introduced the first UV-tube to the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA) in Cuernavaca, Mexico. IMTA, an organization that researches new technologies and trains local citizens about the management, conservation and remediation of water, has performed laboratory validation of the UV-tube according to the Mexican standard for POU drinking water treatment technologies. IMTA field-tested versions of the UV-Tube in a peri-urban area near Cuernavaca where public electricity and piped water are available and biological contamination is prevalent. Currently, they are developing educational videos about safe water and disinfection methods.