Carbon Financing of Household Water Treatment: Background, Operation and Recommendations to Improve Potential for Health Gains. Env Sci Tech, Oct 2014.

Authors: James M. Hodge and Thomas F. Clasen. Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, United States, e-mail:

Household water treatment (HWT) provides a means for vulnerable populations to take charge of their own drinking water quality as they patiently wait for the pipe to finally reach them. In many low-income countries, however, promoters have not succeeded in scaling up the intervention among the target population or securing its consistent and sustained use. Carbon financing can provide the funding for reaching targeted populations with effective HWT solutions and the incentives to ensure their long-term uptake. Nevertheless, programs have been criticized because they do not actually reduce carbon emissions. We summarize the background and operation of carbon financing of HWT interventions, including the controversial construct of “suppressed demand”.

We agree that these programs have limited potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that their characterization of trading “carbon for water” is misleading. Nevertheless, we show that the Kyoto Protocol expressly encouraged the use of suppressed demand as a means of allowing low-income countries to benefit from carbon financing provided it is used to advance development priorities such as health. We conclude by recommending changes to existing criteria for eligible HWT programs that will help ensure that they meet the conditions of microbiological effectiveness and actual use that will improve their potential for health gains.

Cholera at the Crossroads: The Association Between Endemic Cholera and National Access to Improved Water Sources and Sanitation. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, Nov 2014.

Authors: Benjamin L. Nygren*, Anna J. Blackstock and Eric D. Mintz

Address correspondence to Benjamin L. Nygren, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, MS-C09, Atlanta, GA 30329. E-mail:

We evaluated World Health Organization (WHO) national water and sanitation coverage levels and the infant mortality rate as predictors of endemic cholera in the 5-year period following water and sanitation coverage estimates using logistic regression, receiver operator characteristic curves, and different definitions of endemicity.

Each was a significant predictors of endemic cholera at P < 0.001. Using a value of 250 for annual cases reported in 3 of 5 years, a national water access level of 71% has 65% sensitivity and 65% specificity in predicting endemic cholera, a sanitation access level of 39% has 63% sensitivity and 62% specificity, and an infant mortality rate of 65/1,000 has 67% sensitivity and 69% specificity.

Our findings reveal the tradeoff between sensitivity and specificity for these predictors of endemic cholera and highlight the substantial uncertainty in the data. More accurate global surveillance data will enable more precise characterization of the benefits of improved water and sanitation.

Open-source mobile water quality testing platform. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, Vol 4 No 3 pp 532–537 2014.

Authors: Bas Wijnen, G. C. Anzalone and Joshua M. Pearce

Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA E-mail:
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, USA

The developing world remains plagued by lack of access to safe drinking water. Although many low-cost methods have been developed to treat contaminated water, low-cost methods for water-quality testing are necessary to determine if these appropriate technologies are needed, effective, and reliable. This paper provides a methodology for the design, development, and technical validation of a low-cost, open-source (OS) water testing platform. A case study is presented where the platform is developed to provide both the colorimetry for biochemical oxygen demand/chemical oxygen demand and nephelometry to measure turbidity using method ISO 7027. This approach resulted in equipment that is as accurate, but costs between 7.5 and 15 times less than current commercially available tools. It is concluded that OS hardware development is a promising solution for the equipment necessary to perform water quality measurements in both developed and developing regions.

Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services: Accountability in the water sector, October 2014.

Authors: Barbara van Koppen, Stef Smits, Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio and John B. Thomas. IWMI.

Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services argues that by designing cost-effective multi-purpose infrastructure MUS can have a positive impact on people’s health and livelihoods. It analyses and explains the success factors of MUS, using a framework of accountability for public service delivery, and it also examines why there has been resistance against scaling up MUS. A stronger service delivery approach can overcome this resistance, by rewarding more livelihood outcomes, by fostering discretionary decision-making power of local-level staff and by allowing horizontal coordination. This book should be read by government and aid agency policy makers in the WASH and agriculture sectors, by development field workers, and by academics, researchers and students of international development.

Comparing Willingness to Pay for Improved Drinking-Water Quality Using Stated Preference Methods in Rural and Urban Kenya. Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2014 Nov 8.

Authors: Brouwer R1, Job FC, van der Kroon B, Johnston R.
1Department of Environmental Economics, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,

BACKGROUND: Access to safe drinking water has been on the global agenda for decades. The key to safe drinking water is found in household water treatment and safe storage systems.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we assessed rural and urban household demand for a new gravity-driven membrane (GDM) drinking-water filter.

METHODS: A choice experiment (CE) was used to assess the value attached to the characteristics of a new GDM filter before marketing in urban and rural Kenya. The CE was followed by a contingent valuation (CV) question. Differences in willingness to pay (WTP) for the same filter design were tested between methods, as well as urban and rural samples.

RESULTS: The CV follow-up approach produces more conservative and statistically more efficient WTP values than the CE, with only limited indications of anchoring. The effect of the new filter technology on children with diarrhea is among the most important drivers behind choice behavior and WTP in both areas. The urban sample is willing to pay more in absolute terms than the rural sample irrespective of the valuation method. Rural households are more price sensitive, and willing to pay more in relative terms compared with disposable household income.

CONCLUSION: A differentiated marketing strategy across rural and urban areas is expected to increase uptake and diffusion of the new filter technology.

Methods to Test Chlorine Solution Concentrations in Ebola Emergencies, 2014.

Daniele Lantagne, Tufts University.

Three alternate methods are described herein: 1) portable iodimetric titration kits; 2) dilution followed by testing with FCR/TCR test kits; and, 3) calculation based on manufacturing.


Methods to Make Chlorine Solution in Ebola Emergencies, 2014.

Daniele Lantagne, Tufts University.

Chlorine solution is widely used for disinfection in emergency response activities. In Ebola response,0.5%chlorine solution is recommended for cleaning non-­living things and surfaces and 0.05% chlorine solution is recommended for cleaning living things.

The methods for on-­site manufacturing include: 1) dilution of HTH or NaDCC powder in water; 2) dilution of concentrated liquid solution in water; and, 3) generating sodium hypochlorite using salt,water,and electricity.

The use of indigenous plant species for drinking water treatment in developing countries: a review. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences (JBES), Sept 2014.

Moa Megersa, Abebe Beyene, Argaw Ambelu, Bizuneh Woldeab. Department of Environmental Health Science and Technology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Although universal access to safe and piped water is an important long-term solution, it is very expensive and challenging to implement in developing countries in the short term. Hence, improving both physicochemical and microbiological quality of drinking water at a household level is believed to be effective in preventing infectious diarrhea. There are a number of household water treatment technologies proven to be effective in coagulation and disinfection. At present, a number of effective coagulants and disinfectants have been identified of plant origin.

Of the large number of plant materials that have been used over the years, the seeds from Moringa oleifera have been shown to be one of the most effective primary coagulants for water treatment, especially in ruralcommunities. In addition, indigenous knowledge indicates that there are several plant species that can be used as a coagulant and disinfectant. Out of which seeds of Prosopis juliflora, Dolichos lablab and leaves of Opuntia ficus indica showed effectiveness in coagulation. Although, plant species have enormous advantage in water treatment, they also have limitation. The major limitation is the release of organic matter and nutrients to apply at large scale. From these review, it can be concluded that plant species have the potential to serve as a complementary water treatment agent especially in rural areas.

Coliform Bacteria as Indicators of Diarrheal Risk in Household Drinking Water: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, Sept 2014.

Authors: Joshua S. Gruber, Ayse Ercumen, John M. Colford Jr.

Background – Current guidelines recommend the use of Escherichia coli (EC) or thermotolerant (“fecal”) coliforms (FC) as indicators of fecal contamination in drinking water. Despite their broad use as measures of water quality, there remains limited evidence for an association between EC or FC and diarrheal illness: a previous review found no evidence for a link between diarrhea and these indicators in household drinking water.

Objectives – We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to update the results of the previous review with newly available evidence, to explore differences between EC and FC indicators, and to assess the quality of available evidence.

Methods – We searched major databases using broad terms for household water quality and diarrhea. We extracted study characteristics and relative risks (RR) from relevant studies. We pooled RRs using random effects models with inverse variance weighting, and used standard methods to evaluate heterogeneity and publication bias.

Results – We identified 20 relevant studies; 14 studies provided extractable results for meta-analysis. When combining all studies, we found no association between EC or FC and diarrhea (RR 1.26 [95% CI: 0.98, 1.63]). When analyzing EC and FC separately, we found evidence for an association between diarrhea and EC (RR: 1.54 [95% CI: 1.37, 1.74]) but not FC (RR: 1.07 [95% CI: 0.79, 1.45]). Across all studies, we identified several elements of study design and reporting (e.g., timing of outcome and exposure measurement, accounting for correlated outcomes) that could be improved upon in future studies that evaluate the association between drinking water contamination and health.

Conclusions – Our findings, based on a review of the published literature, suggest that these two coliform groups have different associations with diarrhea in household drinking water. Our results support the use of EC as a fecal indicator in household drinking water.

Synthetic organic water contaminants in developing communities: an overlooked challenge addressed by adsorption with locally generated char. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, Vol 4 No 3 pp 422–436 © IWA Publishing 2014 doi:10.2166/washdev.2014.073

Joshua P. Kearns, Detlef R. U. Knappe and R. Scott Summers

Department of Civil, Environmental, & Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado-Boulder, 1111 Engineering Dr, ECOT 441, UCB 428, Boulder, CO 80309, USA E-mail:
Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2501 Stinson Dr, Campus Box 7908, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Chemical contamination of drinking water sources is a worldwide problem. However, few locally managed, sustainable, and low-cost on-site treatment technologies are available in rural, remote, and emergency/disaster relief/humanitarian crisis situations. Char filter-adsorbers have been used to treat drinking water for thousands of years and are still widely used today. Our studies show that some chars produced by traditional means from a range of feedstocks develop favorable sorption properties for uptake of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a prevalent herbicide and water contaminant.

However, more energy efficient, environmentally sustainable and scalable production of consistent highly sorptive chars can be accomplished with biomass gasification. Our laboratory studies demonstrate that locally produced char adsorbents derived from surplus agricultural and forestry biomass are effective for adsorbing 2,4-D. A year-long study of field-scale application of chars in Thailand is also presented. Based on these studies we present design recommendations for integrating char adsorbers into low-cost, multi-barrier treatment trains for on-site water provision.