Lecturers work to provide safe drinking water in collaboration project


Date: 24th Jan 2019

Solar water disinfection (SODIS) buckets designed by Buckinghamshire New University and made by the Polytechnic University of Malawi are being used by more than 500 families in the Chikwawa region of Malawi, in south east Africa.

The buckets kill harmful microbes in water and have been designed by Lyndon Buck, Principal Lecturer in Product Design, and PhD student Richard Harlow as part of the WATERSPOUTT project.

WATERSPOUTT is coordinated by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and aims to reduce the number of people worldwide relying on unsafe drinking water.SODIS buckets in use
"We have made a product which is very simple to use, cheap to produce, and highly effective at solar water disinfection,” said Dr Buck.

“It’s great to see our designs being produced by local industries and beginning to make a real difference to people living in rural areas of Malawi."

The University is also part of a trial of of transparent plastic jerry cans for solar water disinfection in rural communities in Ethiopia

Dr Buck and Mr Harlow, who have also worked with Dr George Clerk, Lecturer/Researcher, have, additionally, advised on water disinfection buckets used in primary schools in rural Masaka, Uganda. 

SODIS buckets in action
SODIS is a household water treatment that uses sunlight to kill harmful microbes in water stored in transparent containers and is used by five million people in developing countries on a daily basis. However, 660 million people around the world remain without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

WATERSPOUTT aims to increase the number of people who use SODIS by developing technologies that will allow larger volumes of water to be treated. Rather than having to use numerous standard two-litre bottles, using the current standard SODIS process, WATERSPOUTT technologies provide households with larger volumes of up to 20 litres of treated water per day, using just one container.

These technologies are designed in consultation with families, schools and clinics in Africa and are being piloted in Uganda, South. Africa, Ethiopia and Malawi. WATERSPOUTT technologies will have an estimated market of more than 102 million people in Africa, in addition to 50 million others in Asia, Europe and Latin America.SODIS Learning about SODIS buckets
The WATERSPOUTT consortium was awarded €3.6 million (3.084 million) by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme to provide affordable access to safe drinking water in remote and vulnerable communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and other resource-poor countries.

The WATERSPOUTT consortium partners are: RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), Ireland; CIEMAT Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain; Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain; University of Strathclyde, UK); University of Malawi Polytechnic, Malawi; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, Maynooth University, Ireland; Innova, Italy; Makerere University Kampala, Uganda; University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; Ecosystem Environmental Services, Spain; Mekelle University Tigray, Ethiopia; Bucks New University, United Kingdom; Bogaziçi University Istanbul, Turkey; HELIOZ GmbH, Austria; Dublin City University, Ireland; Stichting IHE Delft, Netherlands; and University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

This project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688928.


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