'Appropriate technologies' for drinking water supply in developing countries


ABSTRACT In order to ensure maximum consumer benefits (e.g. public health, livelihood), drinking water supply technologies in developing countries should be adopted taking into consideration locally available skills, resources as well as cultural and environmental settings. This paper presents case-studies from several developing countries in different geographical regions of water supply projects utilizing methods ranging from biological treatment offered slow sand filtration systems to chemically-assisted clarification. These examples reveal successes and lessons learnt in several research projects conducted under different settings (e.g. international development and humanitarian emergencies). In addition, the importance of capacity building for successful implementation of water treatment technologies is also illustrated. INTRODUCTION Health risks associated with drinking-water, particularly microbial, are a major concern in water treatment. Particularly in developing countries where resources for a minimally adequate and reliable water supply are many times lacking. Therefore, drinking water treatment and supply projects should make the most of the accessible resources by adopting the most adequate technologies available. The term "appropriate technology" is commonly used in the context of water treatment and supply in developing countries to refer to water purification techniques that can be implemented (sometimes), operated, and maintained by the beneficiary community. Appropriate technology usually refers to situations where there is a relative stability and time for the involvement and capacity building of the local community (i.e. development projects). Locals are consulted on their preference of technology and factors such as locally available skills and resources are taken into consideration together with the cultural and environmental settings. However, in situations such as humanitarian emergencies an appropriate technology may refer to water treatment methods that can be quickly and easily implemented (usually by a foreign aid agency) in locations with limited resources (e.g. energy source, chemical supply, spare parts).

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