Wednesday, July 27, 2011

water services that last

A new blog about rural water supply sustainability, by IRC:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

USAID and Gates Foundation Collaborate to Seek, Test, and Scale Innovative Solutions for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

July 19, 2011
Public Information: 202-712-4810

WASHINGTON, D.C. - To support promising new approaches in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with co-funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is announcing WASH for Life. Over the next four years, the $17 million partnership will use USAID's Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program to identify, test, and help scale evidence-based approaches for cost-effective and sustained services in developing countries. WASH for Life is particularly interested in interventions that operate in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, and Nigeria; address issues in the sanitation and hygiene sectors in particular; and target beneficiaries earning under $2 a day.

DIV seeks promising projects with the potential to significantly improve development outcomes. DIV supports innovators by creating partnerships, providing staged financing, rigorously testing and refining new approaches, and transitioning to scale successful innovations.

For more information and to apply to WASH for Life, visit:

Friday, July 15, 2011

A device that crowd-sources water quality could help prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera.

The Water Canary checks supplies in real-time, alerting users to possible infections.

It is also able to upload the data, allowing scientists to monitor the location and movement of outbreaks.

Unveiling the device at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, researchers said they hoped eventually to give the units away for free.

More than three million people die each year from water-related disease, according to the World Health Organisation.

"Water Canary is an open source tool to rapidly test water and transmit information in real time to be instantly assessed," said co-founder and TED fellow Sonaar Luthra.

He explained why such a device is needed.

"Currently water testing is too slow and too expensive. We only test water in hindsight," he told the BBC.

"When cholera hit Haiti there was no way of knowing how fast it would spread," he added.

more at:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The sanitation ladder – a need for a revamp?

by E. Kvarnström, J. McConville, P. Bracken, M. Johansson and M. Fogde

Stockholm Environment Institute, Kräftriket 2B, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden E-mail:
Stockholm Environment Institute, Kräftriket 2B, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
AHT GROUP AG, Huyssenallee 66-68, Essen, Germany
Ecoloop AB, Mosebacke Torg 4, 116 46 Stockholm, Sweden


The sanitation ladder is a useful tool that is being used to monitor progress towards the sanitation target of the MDGs. This tool could be even more useful if it can be refined to be based on the functions of sanitation systems rather than on a hierarchy of predefined sanitation technologies. This paper presents a seven-rung function-based sanitation ladder where the functions can be broadly divided into health functions and environmental functions. The proposed ladder is intended as an inspiration for nations, and the JMP, to move towards a function-based rather than technology-based monitoring of sanitation progress. A functional approach to monitoring of e.g. the sanitation target of the MDGs would require some major shifts in the monitoring methods used but it is argued that such an approach would: (i) actually monitor the public good, which is desired from a sanitation system; (ii) stimulate donors, governments and municipalities to think beyond the provision of certain sanitation technologies; (iii) allow for local solutions to the sanitation problem to be developed; and (iv) spur innovation within the sector.

Sanitation and Health article

Sanitation and Health, IN: PLoS Med 7(11) 2010. D, Mara, University of Leeds.(Link to full-text)
The diseases associated with poor sanitation are particularly correlated with poverty and infancy and alone account for about 10% of the global burden of disease. At any given time close to half of the urban populations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have a disease associated with poor sanitation, hygiene, or water.