Our project to develop an indicator to simplify the application of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) is making good progress: we calibrated a first series of prototypes and at the same time are already working on a second generation prototype. For this second generation, we obtained free support of a professional design company in Seattle.
The calibration measurements confirmed that our idea of powering the device with solar energy is working well. The idea is quite obvious because the method of SODIS also is based on solar energy. However, we first had to prove that the solution works in practice and that it is cost-effective. This is crucial because we do not want to loose one of the key advantages of the SODIS method: it’s low cost. In fact, SODIS is essentially for free: you only need common PET bottles and sunshine (for more details on how the method works, you may want to check out www.sodis.ch) in order to obtain safe drinking water.
With the results from the calibration phase, we are now preparing a next project phase, which will include the production of a small series of the improved prototype. These devices will then be demonstrated to potential users and promoters of the SODIS method in several countries and regions. With the feedback from these demonstrations we will guide a next phase of development. We expect to complete production of the small series by the end of November and start the demonstrations after that.
If you are interested in the method of Solar Water Disinfection, you may want to subscribe to the SODIS newsletter of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (http://www.sodis.ch/news/newsletter/index_EN). This is the research institute which carried out much of the early investigations on SODIS and continues to function as a global reference center for the method. They estimate that by now, 3-5 million people worldwide are using SODIS to disinfect their drinking water, a number which has been confirmed by the Joint Monitoring Programme of WHO/UNICEF (http://www.wssinfo.org/). Even though this is an impressive achievement for a completely non-commercial method, it is not even 1 percent of the people who currently lack access to an improved water source (currently more than 1 billion people worldwide!).
Thus, methods like SODIS, but also other simple methods to disinfect water at point of consumption need to be promoted on a much greater scale if we want to stop a child dying every 15 seconds from diarrhea. We expect that the indicator we are currently developing will be an important step in this direction, and we are thankful for all the support we obtain in pursuing this goal. We will continue to inform you about progress on our side and are looking forward to hearing back from you.
Best regards from the whole project team,
P.S. Please mark October 19th on your agenda – this will be this year’s last chance to have your donation complemented. Each donation you make that day (up to the amount of 1,000 US$) will be increased by 30%, making your contribution create even more impact.