NRC and Solvatten Foundation have partnered in an innovative project that enables local communities access to safe water. Photo: Alex Loriaman/NRC

Safe water through solar technology

Nashon Tado|Published 20. Jan 2015
NRC and Solvatten Foundation have partnered in Kenya’s Turkana County, supporting an innovative project that enables the local communities in Turkana West access safe water and improve their livelihood situation.

More households will be moving into the New Year with smiles on their faces as they become beneficiaries of the solar safe water equipment produced by Solvatten Foundation and distributed by NRC.

It is common knowledge that boiling can make water safe to drink. But it is not widely known that ultra-violet light also kills micro-organisms. The Solvatten jerrican uses heat, ultra-violet material and a built-in filter to deactivate the micro-organisms that cause disease. The equipment can treat water containing bacteria, viruses and parasites. Using a system similar to a portable solar heater, the simple technology can treat and heat 10 litres of water in 2 to 6 hours depending on sunlight intensity. Under optimal conditions, it can be used up to three times a day, providing 30 litres of safe and hot water to households.

Esther Lowoi, Turkana resident. Photo: Alex Loriaman/NRC.

Esther Lowoi, a mother of two children, is one of the beneficiaries of the Solvatten Solar Safe Water project. During an interview with NRC, she expressed her positive views about the technology, noting that it has significantly improved the lives of the community members using it, reducing reliance on firewood, freeing more time for income-generation and making it easier for families to cope with domestic duties.

“The jerrican helps me to prepare tea for my children, as well as warming water for bathing and laundry”, she said.

The refugee host community population is the main target of the project and members have been involved through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene committees established in the camps. Refugee new arrivals from South Sudan, settled in the new Kakuma 4 have also been targeted as they are more vulnerable to water-borne diseases.

Using the Solvatten Solar Safe Water equipment is efficient and user-friendly. Photo by Alex Loriaman/NRC