PIND’s Biosand Water Filter Story

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Blog post by Timi Kiakubu, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program Coordinator, PIND

The benefits and how it was chosen

The Appropriate Technology Enabled Development (ATED) program of PIND took the initiative to promote point-of-use or household water treatment technologies to address the challenge of poor drinking water quality and access to safe water in the Niger Delta.

Having assessed standard, field-tested, and proven point-of-use water treatment options, PIND selected the biosand filter as the most appropriate technology for its target population. The biosand filter is a proven, appropriate household level water treatment technology endorsed by the WHO. It is inexpensive as well as simple to operate and maintain.

The benefits of the biosand filter include;

  1. Simple and affordable means of accessing safe drinking water.
  2. Improved health of the end-users through reduction in diarrheal related disease, and reduction in the rate of indoor air pollution (IAP) associated with wood and charcoal fuel used to boil water.
  3. Income savings by eliminating recurrent expenditure on weekly purchases of wood and charcoal fuel used to boil water, medical care, and clean water.
  4. Reduction in carbon emissions associated with wood and charcoal fuel, used to boil water.

If used in place of boiling, on average one Hydraid filter prevents the release of about 6-10 tonnes of C02 each year it is in use. For companies seeking to achieve environmental and social impact goals, Hydraid biosand filter projects produce Gold Standard certified carbon credits for organizations and companies to purchase.

Initial pilot  Amatu II

In conjunction with LAPDO (Life and Peace Development Organization), and Dodo RDC, a successful pilot of this technology was done in 2011 in Amatu II, one of five coastal communities in the Dodo River area of Bayelsa State. Eleven imported Hydraid biosand filters, manufactured by Triple Quest in Michigan, United Sates, were deployed along with safe storage containers in eleven households, which were also trained on basic water, sanitation and hygiene practices. The technology was well received and adoption rate was over 80% after one year of periodic post-installation monitoring.

Efforts at promoting accessibility and affordability of filters

In 2013, PIND invested in building the capacity of local CSOs to manufacture, install, operate and maintain the biosand filter, by facilitating the visit of Aqua Clara International from Kenya to Warri, to conduct a Training of Trainers (ToTs) for CSOs. The key objective was to make the filter more accessible and affordable. Eleven persons from nine organizations participated in the training. This gave birth to the locally constructed, Aqua-Clara type biosand filter.

One of the trainees, Mr. Henry Erikowa of Coastal and Marine Areas Development Initiative (CMADI) showed significant interest by producing and promoting the filters after the training. Based on his interest, and constraints, PIND supported him with a seed grant to set up a biosand filter production facility. He has grown to be one of PIND’s key partners in promoting the filters, and has sold over 120 units across the country. He is also a co-facilitator in PIND’s subsequent biosand filter ToTs. So far, 45 persons from 31 organizations have been participated in subsequent ToTs.

In 2014, Triple Quest’s rep from the US and PIND’s WASH Coordinator jointly visited RIDA Plastics in Lagos to explore opportunities for local plastic companies to partner with Triple Quest in Michigan to locally produce the Hydraid biosand filter. The meeting threw up the need to build sufficient local demand to support continuous production. Triple Quest therefore proposed a phased approach to in-country production “ beginning with importation, to production of some parts of the filter in-country and full production in-country. PIND has supported LAPDO with a loan to facilitate the importation of 2250 units of the Hydraid biosand filters.

Hence the imported Hydraid biosand filters and the locally constructed Aqua-Clara type biosand filters are available in-country.

BIOSAND

Biosand filters constructed with locally available materials ready for distribution and installation in households at Ashama.

 

Subsequent deployments of the filter in communities  Azama and Kokodiagbene

In 2014, PIND worked with the Egbema-Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF) to deploy 30 and 40 units of the locally constructed biosand filters in Azama and Kokodiagbene, respectively. The technology adoption rate was disappointingly low, about an average of 40%. This led to a review of the training and deployment team’s community engagement process, having discovered that the challenge was not with the technology, but gaps in user selection and community engagement.

Multi-stakeholder Partnership  Ashama and Akugbene biosand filter project

The Ashama and Akugbene biosand filter project is a multi-stakeholder partnership involving six organizations coordinated by PIND in 2014, to facilitate a pilot program, demonstrating the environmental and other benefits of the biosand filter. Recognizing PIND’s modest achievements in promoting the biosand filter in the Niger Delta, the Delta State TACC (Territorial Action for Climate Change) team from the State Ministry of Environment requested PIND to coordinate this partnership. Other partners include R20 Regions of Climate Change in Switzerland, and Triple Quest in Michigan, USA, CMADI in Warri, Delta State, and LAPDO in Akure, Ondo State.

The pilot program consists of community engagement, training, and installation and post-installation monitoring of 50 pieces of Hydraid Biosand Water Filters and accessories in 50 households in Akugbene community in Bomadi LGA, and 50 pieces of Locally Constructed Biosand Water Filters in 50 households in Ashama Community in Aniocha South LGA.

A total of 106 filters were installed in 106 households. Using a conservative household size of 6, 636 individuals are expected to benefit directly from the use of the biosand filters. Post-installation monitoring results have shown that the technology adoption rate is about 90%, which means about 95 households are using their filters correctly, consistently and continuously. Hence 570 individuals are benefitting directly from the use of the biosand filters.

The benefits of the project are far-reaching ranging from economic benefits to health and environmental benefits. They include;

  1. 570 individuals now have a simple and affordable means of accessing safe drinking water.
  2. Improved health of the 570 end-users through reduction in diarrheal related disease, and reduction in the rate of indoor air pollution (IAP) associated with wood and charcoal fuel used to boil water.
  3. Income savings for 95 households, by eliminating recurrent expenditure on weekly purchases of wood and charcoal fuel used to boil water, medical care, and clean water.
  4. Reduction in deforestation, and carbon emissions associated with wood and charcoal fuel, used to boil water.

If used in place of boiling, on average one Hydraid filter prevents the release of about 6-10 tonnes of C02 each year it is in use. For companies seeking to achieve environmental and social impact goals, Hydraid biosand filter projects produce Gold Standard certified carbon credits for organizations and companies to purchase.

Mrs. Millicent Nwaebuni of Ashama community outlined the benefits of the biosand filter to her household of seven monthly income savings of N5,100 through eliminating purchase of sachet and bottled water, and reduction in her children’s health care cost for diarrheal related diseases. Mrs. Rose Obi, also of Ashama, with a household size of ten, also reported monthly income savings of N15,000.

In the project communities, most community members use unsafe water sources like river water, rain water for drinking, while some resort to sachet and bottled water. There is a high prevalence of diarrheal diseases like cholera and dysentery, and monthly income levels range from below N5,000 to N20,000, with majority earning below N5,000. Hence within this context, this project has impacted positively on the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the beneficiaries and the communities, and also contributed to global climate change mitigation.

Some of the factors that led to the success of this project include;

  1. Learning from previous experience, the team carefully selected the communities with the aid of a UNICEF-funded water and sanitation needs assessment database provided by the Delta State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA).
  2. The team also developed selection criteria to identify suitable households where filters were installed.
  3. The project was targeted at women because within the context of the communities, women are more passionate about water and sanitation issues on the home front.

Next Steps: Dodo River Project and Trainings

Based on the initial pilot at Amatu II, and request from the Dodo River RDC to install biosand filters in 1200 eligible households across the five communities that make up the RDC, efforts are on-going to begin this project in partnership with Ox-bow lake Rotary Club, Yenagoa and district 9140 in Nigeria,  the Parkdale Highpark rotary club and district 7070 in Canada, and the Dodo RDC.

In order to secure the full environmental benefits of this project, Triple Quest has supported LAPDO to begin the process of qualifying this project to access carbon credits. The initial requirement of a Local Stakeholders Consultative (LSC) meeting was held in Yenagoa, in March, 2015, while the follow up Baseline Water Boiling tests will commence in May 2015.

On the training front, there is demand for biosand filter trainings as the UNICEF A-Field Office, and the Akwa-Ibom State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency has requested PIND’s support in its HWTS (Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage) program which is expected to reach 76 communities in two Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State.

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