When one mentions “Household Water Treatment Systems” for Colombian homes without treated water, one must go far beyond what we in Canada are familiar with. A lot of these homes are actually in peri-urban locations with piped but untreated water.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect technology with reasonable cost, ease of use, high effectiveness, tolerant of turbid water and a long useful lifespan. There is a lot of dis-information floating around and some of it promulgated by manufacturers.
CAPD, as part of our plan to scale up, recognized the need to raise level of awareness among decision makers. CAPD and our Colombian partner, FRPG, were asked by CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water & Sanitation Technology) to host a 2-day workshop in Bogota to raise the level of knowledge concerning available treatment systems. It was a good fit for what CAPD is trying to achieve. You may know that CAWST is the Calgary entity whose mission is to train people to improve their water and sanitation situations. They have a broad experience and knowledge of most of the technologies related to treating water in households.
On March 28 and 29, using our collective contacts in Colombia, we hosted 29 people at the Centro de Juventudes in Bogota. The seminar was over-subscribed and included a wide range of participants including representatives of the Ministry of Housing, who are responsible for drafting legislation for alternative technologies, ICONTEC (national standards setting body), Universities, municipal water system representatives, various filter suppliers and non-governmental organizations.
Eva Manzano of CAWST shared her extensive knowledge and wonderful facilitation skills to guide us through the multiple barrier approach that is necessary in the field and helped us evaluate the various technologies in an unbiased manner. CAPD purchased a wide variety of filters that the group could actually test using fairly realistic water quality. Happily, the group concluded that the BioSand Filter ranked as one of the best solutions for households.
The seminar was very well received and there is a strong possibility that two more seminars will be held in June.