Water Essentials

The Untapped Potential of Decentralized Solutions to Provide Safe, Sustainable Drinking Water at Large Scale

Jan. 2017
This report argues that new approaches are needed to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 by 2030. Through the analysis of 14 different small water enterprises, the report uncovers bottlenecks to scale and sustainability.



Faecal Contamination of Drinking Water During Collection and Household Storage: The Need to Extend Protection to the Point of Use

Clasen, T., Bastable, A.
Journal of Water and Health
Jan. 2003

Water quality was tested for contamination at non-improved and improved water sources, and stored water at household level. Results showed that even safe water tends to get contaminated during collection and storage. Improved storage and household-based water treatment should be considered.

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Sustainability of Drinking Water Supply Projects in Rural of North Gondar, Ethiopia

Admassu, M., Kumie, A., Fantahun, M.
The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development; Vol 23, 221-229
Jan. 2003

There is limited infrastructure for safe water sources in rural Ethiopia. Existing sources tend to have functionality issues and may remain idle for long periods of time. Communities should be mobilized to invest more in small-scale drinking water enterprises to make water supply more reliable.

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The Microbiological Quality of Drinking Water Sold on the Streets in Kumasi, Ghana

Obiri-Danso, K., Okore-Hanson, A., Jones, K.
Letters in Applied Microbiology
Jan. 2003

Bottled water and plastic bagged "sachet" water are extremely popular sources of portable water in Ghana. Studies revealed that bottled water is of relatively good microbiological quality, however, sachet water is microbiologically unfit for consumption.

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Chlorination and Safe Storage of Household Drinking Water in Developing Countries to Reduce Waterborne Disease

Sobsey, M.D., Handzel, T., Venczel, L.
Water Science and Technology; Vol 47, No 3, 221-228
Jan. 2003

Effective and affordable methods are needed to treat and store non-piped water for households. Chlorination and storage in special plastic containers of water can improve microbial quality and drastically reduce water-borne diseases for households.

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Domestic Transmission Routes of Pathogens: The Problem of In-House Contamination of Drinking Water During Storage in Developing Countries

Tropical Medicine and International Health
Jensen, P., Ensink, J., Jayasinghe, G., Hoek, W., Cairncross, S., Dalsgaard, A.
Jul. 2002

Safe drinking water in rural communities is often contaminated during storage in the home. Both wide and narrow-necked storage containers were bacterially contaminated. Contamination usually occurred due to hand contact with water or improper cleaning of the container.

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Not Just a Drop in the Bucket: Expanding Access to Point-of-Use Water Treatment Systems

Mintz, E., Bartram, J., Lochery, P., Wegelin, M.
American Journal of Public Health; Vol 91, No 10
Oct. 2001

Piped water expansion rarely targets the needs of disadvantaged populations. Point-of-use water treatment is the most effective system for such communities, and helps improve their health, leading to productivity and development. But to be most effective, behavior change is also required.

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A Brief Review of Groundwater for Rural Water Supply in Sub-Saharan Africa

MacDonald, A., Davies, J.
British Geological Survey; DFID
Jan. 2000

Groundwater is the most reliable water source in rural sub-Saharan Africa. There are four main hydrogeological environments in this region. However, due to the chemical composition of these environments, they are not always fit for human consumption.

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Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in the Urban Water and Sanitation Market

Solo, T.
Apr. 1999

Small-scale enterprises such as NGOs and private suppliers have been really succesful in providing water and sanitation services to marginalized communities. By improving public policy, these organizations can be united to decrease inefficient competition and improve supply quality and quantity.

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Frontier Capital: Early Stage Investing for Financial Returns and Social Impact in Emerging Markets

Bannick, M., Goldman, P., and Kubzansky, M.
Omidyar Network

Low- and lower-middle income populations have huge unmet needs and face quite a bit of instability - challenges that can be addressed by innovative business models. Companies serving this demographic represent an under-tapped opportunity both for financial returns and for outsized impact. 

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Water and Sanitation

Bosch, C., Hommann, K., Rubio, G., Sadoff, C., Travers, L.

This chapter describes how adequate water and sanitation resources can reduce poverty. It recommends improving policy such that private sector social enterprises can thrive. For public-operated services, increasing standards to those recognized internationally is recommended.

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