Solar Water Treatment

Contaminated water sources contain pathogens, like bacterias and viruses, that cause the majority of disease and
deaths in developing countries. Solar
water treatment through prolonged exposure to sunlight is effective in
diarrheal diseases, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid by killing or removing up to 99% of viruses, diseases,
and other
water-borne pathogens. The World Health Organization reports 1.8 million child fatalities from diarrheal
diseases in
2004, primarily due to contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation.
Small-scale solar water treatment programs are a good option in developing countries because they require few
supplies and are inexpensive to operate. 
In addition, solar treatment does not add any chemicals, flavors, or
colors to the water and no hazardous by-products
are produced. 

The focus of this website is solar treatment through ultraviolet disinfection due to the simplicity of the method
and its very low cost.

Solar Water Treatment Methods:                                                                                               

Ultraviolet Disinfection - we have outlined the method and procedures for establishing this simple,
easy to use method for water treatment.

Solar Distillation - this is another popular method to produce pure drinking water using only
the power of the sun.  This method employs an evaporation chamber
that brackish, saline, or
contaminated water is poured or pumped into a sealed
chamber with a level, dark-colored
bottom and a sloping glass lid.  The heat from
the sun evaporates the water which condenses
on the inside of the lid and runs
down into a collection trough.  This method can produce
1-3 gallons/day in
sunny climates and the only cost is the initial materials (~50-300$US).
Some basic plans and descritptions of solar distillation stills are available from these websites:

Solar Water Still Plans - simple plans and drawings

El Paso Solar Energy Association - solar basin still plans and
story of usage along Mexico/Texas 

More solar water distillation plans - apparently orchids like
very pure water too

Solar Water Plant (pump and still) - it sucks pure water right
out of the earth! (but we're not really sure how much).

More Water Links and Resources:

UNESCO's Water Site - United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
Organization's Water site devoted to sustainable development and
conservation of the world's freshwater sources.

Water Scarcity: A Looming Crisis?- a BBC news report on the global
water situation and data on historic increases in water  usage.

Engineers Without Boarders Links - page of
great water and sanitation links

Map: The World's Water Hotspots - an interactive map and article
about areas of stunning water change and water conflicts.

World Health Organization's Drinking Water Quality Page - the WHO
is an excellent resource for all water issues, many links
and articles are available here.

National Safety Council's Drinking Water Bulletin - information and articles
on water source assessment and safety and groundwater protection

Red Cross - Red Cresent Water and Sanitation ERU - the
Emergency Response Unit for responding to natural

Environment Canada's Freshwater Website - journal articles, books, and links
about a multitude of water-related topics

Clean Water Action Council

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    This page composed by:
             Tim Martin
             John Lyons
             March, 2005