Researchers with the Stanford Program on Water, Health, and Development have designed a community-scale, fully automated chlorine dosing device for low-income urban communities lacking reliable electricity and 24/7 supply. This technology was conceived as part of a new paradigm suggesting that water treatment is most effective when it is implemented prior to the point-of-collection, with no behavior change required by the end-user. The device works by using a vacuum suction created by water flowing through a pipe, and does not require electricity. The device offers reliable chlorine dosing while remaining low-cost; it can be easily integrated into existing handpumps, and is designed to dose water accurately even under variable and intermittent flow. Our product is specifically designed to be a practical and affordable option for high quality water in low-income urban communities, where typically low-turbidity piped municipal supplies are contaminated and there are limited other options for safe water.
There is a clear need for new strategies to provide safe water in cities of the developing world. Since 2000, the number of people living in urban slums has increased by more than 100 million and is expected to increase further. Centralized water treatment and distribution systems are prohibitively expensive for municipal governments in low-income countries to effectively implement and manage. In-home disinfection technologies such as chlorine products and filters have been developed and promoted to allow individuals to treat water at the point-of-use (POU). However, uptake and consistent use among at-risk households remains very low. Our project is innovative in our goal to shift the focus of safe water innovations to the community-level, overcoming the high cost and vulnerability of centralized treatment to recontamination during distribution and removing the burden of daily behavior change required of households that has limited uptake of POU treatment technologies in the past.
The current updated version of our technology is primarily composed of durable plastics and features no moving parts, offering the likelihood of large-scale manufacturing costs well below 20 USD and a product lifespan of 5+ years. Our chlorine refill rate will be twice per month, leading to an estimated O&M cost of approximately 0.35 USD per household per month. To achieve economic sustainability, our proposed business model is cohesive with how slum compounds are currently structured. Monthly payments for chlorine refills are incorporated into slightly increased rents, comparable to annual expected increases in Dhaka slums. Landlords own and maintain handpumps in Dhaka, so our marketing materials target landlords as opposed to individual households. Interacting with landlords reduces the transaction costs of operating the chlorine dosers and also allows for regular payments to be timed with monthly rent collection.
Stage of development: Prototype
- low-cost 20 USD
- compatible with shared handpumps in Dhaka, Bangladesh
- device provides clean water for 10 months to over 100 households