This project aims at improving the quality of the water produced by the 1001 fontaines sites. The focus will be put on two specific issues: adjusting the water treatment to each type of water source and improving the quality of water storage.
> Focusing on water quality
Increasing access to “improved water sources” such as stated by the Millennium Goals does not guarantee that the populations are actually benefitting from a high quality of water. In developing countries especially, water quality can be affected by a wide range of processes, being natural or the result of human activity leading to physical or chemical contamination (human waste, agriculture, industry).
Water can be unsafe for human consumption if its quality is hampered due to lack of proper treatment, recontamination during transport or storage. However, it can also be “considered” unsafe by non-harmful qualities such as taste or odor leading to poor perception by users (UNICEF, Report on Water Quality Assessment & Monitoring, 2010).
Improving access to high quality of drinking water and its desirability in developing countries is therefore a particular challenge.
> The processes and technology used by 1001 fontaines
1001 fontaines uses a simple and low cost technology to produce safe water: Surface water is pumped from rivers or ponds. Small quantities of aluminium sulphate are added to the water to accelerate the settling of the suspended matter (flocculation). The water then goes through an activated carbon filter, a sand filter and finally an array of smaller filters (from 60 to 1 micron) to eliminate the remaining impurities. The water is then sent though the ultraviolet sterilization chamber. As the water flows at a constant flow through the system, the ultraviolet rays disinfect the water by killing the remaining microorganisms. The whole treatment unit (water pump and UV system) is powered by solar energy.
The water is then bottled in 20-litre containers, which are disinfected with small quantities of chlorine, filled and sealed. These bottles are delivered directly to the clients’ home, ensuring water quality at the point of consumption.
> Water quality management and monitoring at 1001 fontaines
To quote Louis Pasteur, “We drink 90% of our diseases”. 1001 fontaines focuses on improving the health of rural populations so that guaranteeing access to high quality water is a continuous preoccupation for the 1001 fontaines teams in the field.
The first project aiming at monitoring and improving the quality of water produced by 1001 fontaines stations was launched in 2008, with the support of Merieux foundation and Cergy Pontoise University.
This project led to:
• The creation of a 1001 fontaines water analysis laboratory in Battambang.
Before the implementation of this laboratory, the NGO used to send samples of the water produced to the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh every 3 months. Having its own structure facilitates the number of tests which can be done, ensuring closer monitoring of the water quality.
This laboratory uses standard methods to detect the presence of indicators of fecal contamination: counts of E.Coli and CT, measure a few chemical elements and physical parameters.
• The set up of a process to control the quality of the water on site for the operator
A process was set up to enable each operator and assistant to control the quality of the water directly on site through a presence-absence test, increasing the frequency of water quality control.
The “Presence ‐ Absence” (P‐A) test is a rapid detection test which can be used on site at room temperature without specific equipment.
• The set up of a quality management system for the “animators” (facilitators)
A specific process was set up to help the animators from the local NGO regularly control the quality of the water through a series of tests, ensuring a second and independent level of control.
The animators run these tests regularly at the NGO’s laboratory, inform the operators of the results and if necessary help him/her adjust the treatment process.
Ensuring the quality of the water is an on-going process and can always be improved which is why we wish to launch a new project aiming at improving the quality of the water produced. This project will focus on:
• Understanding the origin of taste and odor in different water sources
• Improving pre-treatment of surface and underground water to improve taste
• Upgrading the process and products to guarantee the quality of the storage of the water
We would be delighted to receive financial support from the BPN on this project as well as benefit from the PWX members expertise on water treatment to help us improve our model.
LocationBattambang, Battambang, Cambodia
Primary Focus: Water Purification
Secondary Focus: Capacity Building
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 0
Please refer to the comment in the section "People getting other benefits"
School Children Getting Water:
People Getting Sanitation: 0
Please refer to the comment in the section "People getting other benefits"
People Getting Other Benefits: 300,000
This project aims at improving the quality of the drinking water produced, and will focus on conducting studies in the NGO’s laboratory and on site to understand the areas of improvement of the model and implement the necessary adjustments at existing and new 1001 fontaines sites.
The project will therefore not have a direct impact on new beneficiaries but will help each operator increase the quality of the water produced. This will contribute to making the project more appealing to existing and new customers as well as ensuring a higher satisfaction for the 1001 fontaines bottled drinking water.
Indeed, we know that the taste of the water produced is one of the barriers to recruiting new clients. If we are able to adjust this parameter, we will be able to reach out to many more beneficiaries and change water use habits.
As of June 2013, the project enables 150 000 people in Cambodia to drink safe water every day and we are currently launching new sites to reach out to 150 000 additional beneficiaries. This project will primarily impact the new sites which will be launched but will also help improve the quality of the water produced at existing sites. Therefore, we consider that this project will increase the quality of the service provided to all 1001 fontaines customers.
The results of this project should also be of interest to all members of the PWX involved in the implementation of solutions for clean, high quality drinking water.
Application Type: Project Funding
Start Date: 2013-07-01
Completion Date: 2014-07-01
The objective of the project is to find cost effective solutions to harmonize the quality of the water produced at 1001 fontaines sites and increase its quality.
The project will combine academic research focusing on collecting relevant information, facts and existing studies on the identified topics for improvements. This research phase will provide the team with hard facts to develop strategies to address the problems in the field.
These different strategies will then be tested in the NGO’s laboratory to draw a first set of conclusions and identify the most relevant strategies. Finally a field validation will be conducted to ensure that the solutions developed are applicable on site.
Three studies will be conducted:
1. Study 1: guaranteeing the quality of the water stored, reducing the cost of microbiological analysis of the water on site
Specific areas of research:
• Improving the bottle disinfection by studying different products
• Increasing persistence of water quality by assessing different products in compliance with local regulations.
This study will be conducted over a 2 month period. The first month will be dedicated to academic research and initial testing in the laboratory and the second month on work in the field and knowledge transfer to the local team.
2. Study 2: Optimizing underground water treatment to reduce taste and odor
Specific areas of research:
• Identifying the origin of taste and odor (high level of minerals – calcium, iron)
• Adjusting the process and maintenance to reduce concentration of minerals (aeration)
3. Study 3: Optimizing surface water treatment to reduce taste and odor
Specific areas of research:
• Identifying the origin of taste and odor (high level of minerals – micro-algae, organic)
• Optimizing the flocculation step by adding mechanization of mixing
• Optimizing the activated carbon filter step by sizing it better and ensuring optimal maintenance
These studies will be conducted over a 10 month period with approximately 2 months of academic research and work in the laboratory, 4 to 7 months of work on site and 1 month of training and knowledge transfer.
These three studies will contribute to identifying solutions to address each of these issues as well as globally reducing the cost of quality control.
Please refer to the previous paragraph
> Involving the operators
Once the first tests have been run in the laboratory, we will work with several pilot sites in the field to run “real environment” testing and produce more accurate results. The local operators will therefore be actively involved during this experimental phase. We expect to run this experimental phase at 5 sites.
> Involving the beneficiaries
Although the quality of the water can easily be evaluated according to international norms, the threshold of acceptability of local populations on matters such as taste and odor can be more complicated to define.
The organization being field driven, we try to take into account as much feedback as possible from the beneficiary communities and involve them in improving the model.
Regarding qualitative information, the operators for example regularly provide feedback to the animators on the clients’ opinion of the service and possible complaints. These elements help the local team identify priority areas of improvement.
As interviews are generally the best way to find out what the beneficiaries want, we try, whenever possible, to collect information directly from the beneficiaries and local community leaders. This can be done through individual consultation or sometimes by interviewing a group of people to stimulate different views and opinion.
Finally, monitoring the sales of each site and client retention are also important indicators of the communities’ satisfaction.
1001 fontaines and Teuk Saat, the local implementer have been working closely with the Ministry of Rural Development since 2007, actively taking part in the monthly meeting with other NGOs on the subject of research on water quality.
We also work with the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy (MIME), which plays an important role in setting water quality standards and ensuring that bottled water projects are compliant with local and international regulations. The MIME regulations and recommendations will be taken into account in the choice of new products to improve the treatment process.
Research projects are always designed over a specified period of time, and are therefore not designed to last. In this case, there are no maintenance costs related with the project.
The project being focused on research, the metrics we will be following will be the outcomes of the studies, ie :
- having a better understanding of how to guarantee the quality of the water stored though a list of recommended products to disinfect the bottle and improve persistence of the water quality
- having a better understanding of how to reduce taste and odor in underground and surface water by defining a specific protocole to reduce concentration according to the levels of mineral in the water source (aeration process, floculation, carbon filter optimization)
The goal of this project is ultimatly to help the team improve the quality of the water produced so that all these recommendations will need to be applied in the field. We will ensure that this is the case by closely monitoring the implementation of each of these recommendations on site through the monthly visits conducted by the operator.
The water quality (taste and odor) will continue to be monitored on a regular basis as it already is the case.
Personnel costs: 31 202
Logistics: 5 212
Material: 4 100
Administrative costs: 900
For more information, please refer to attachments
Co Funding Amount: $21,414
Other private foundations and 1001 fontaines funds
Community Contribution Amount:
Non financial (feedback)
Fund Requested: $20,000
Implementing Organization: Teuk Saat
Teuk Saat 1001 is a local Cambodian NGO, created in 2007 and directed by Chay Lo, the Cambodian co-founder of 1001 fontaines.
Chay Lo, the technical project manager and laboratory officer at Teuk Saat will be particularly involved on this project, as well as Marie Yen, in charge of field projects for 1001 fontaines.
Chay Lo has an engineering degree from the Institute of Technology of Cambodia and the “Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Forêts”. He has been working on the project since 2004
Marie Yen has an engineering degree from the “Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture” in Beauvais and has been working on the project and specifically on water quality since 2006.