WHO releases drinking-water guidelines

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 04 July 2011

The Guidelines are regarded globally as the most authoritative framework on drinking-water quality

Every year, two million people die from waterborne diseases and billions more suffer illness. But much of this ill-health and suffering is preventable.

The WHO drinking-water guidelines, released today, calls on governments to improve the quality of their drinking-water. The Guidelines compel water suppliers to systematically assess the risk of contaminants entering the water supply and to take action based on their findings.

Read an overview on the drinking-water guidelines

Download the Guidelines for drinking-water quality

Fog net provides school’s water

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 November 2010

It takes a moment to understand what the six-metre high net has been set up to capture: water. The Tshiavha Primary School’s water supply is pulled out of the fog that rises over this mountainous part of South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

Fog net in Eritrea

The school’s fog net traps 2,500 litres of water per day, more than enough for the school’s pupils to drink.

The net consists of three six-metre-high wooden poles, set up nine metres apart. Steel cables stretch horizontally between the poles, over which a double layer of 30 percent shade cloth is draped. A gutter runs along the bottom of the shade cloth to channel the water into a storage tank.

Before the fog net was installed, villagers were forced to rely on inadequate water sources including pools fed by springs, often shared with livestock.

“We did not know that we can get water from fog. It is an amazing experience. Now we drink that water,” said Samson Malumedzha, the school’s principal.

Clean water from the net has quickly resulted in reduced incidence of waterborne diseases for the school’s children.

“We used to have a serious problem caused by lack of [clean] water; now that is the past,” he said. Besides the net, the community has also placed gutters on the school’s roof to trap more water.

“The project has helped us here at school and community. In our school, we have a school garden that is irrigated with fog-harvested water.” Continue reading

10 die from rat disease

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 23 August 2010

Malaysia has closed parks and warned the public about swimming and dumping trash in rivers after up to 10 people died from a disease spread by rats.

Leptospirosis - Rats are the main culprits

The latest reported death from the bacterial disease leptospirosis was on Saturday. The 17-year-old boy in northern Kedah state had swam in a river and had a picnic with friends at a recreational park last month, the New Straits Times and The Star reported.

Several parks throughout the country have been closed since the first deaths were reported last month.

Some deaths were believed to have been caused by a separate waterborne disease, and a Health Ministry official could not immediately say how many were caused by leptospirosis.

The Health Ministry’s website warns people not to swim in public rivers when it rains and to avoid taking a dip if they have cuts on their body, which makes an infection more likely.

Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai was quoted by the Times on Monday as saying his ministry would distribute leaflets and posters to raise awareness of the disease.

Leptospirosis is caused by exposure to water contaminated with urine of infected animals and absorbed through the skin.

Rats are the main carriers, and the ministry’s campaign urges people not to dump rubbish near water sources that could attract rats, he said.

Cases of the disease have been increasing in Malaysia.

It killed 62 people last year, up from 20 in 2004. In the same period, the number of infections rose more than fivefold to more than 1 400 cases, up from 263.

Symptoms are severe muscle pain, fever, vomiting and headache, and leptospirosis is curable if the person is treated within a week.

– AP

Hi-tech water purifier in a teabag

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 23 July 2010

A South African professor has invented a hi-tech “teabag” that can purify polluted water instantly – at a cost of just three cents a litre.

The filtration system is so small it fits into the lid of a water bottle, and has already been hailed as a breakthrough in the battle against waterborne disease in poor areas.

It was developed using tiny nano-fibres – each about one hundredth the width of a human hair and packed together into a teabag-like sac that filters out microscopic bacteria. Instead of tea the nanotech bag contains activated carbon which then kills the harmful bacteria.

“Not only do we filter the bacteria out but we also kill them,” said inventor Professor Eugene Cloete, a microbiologist at the University of Stellenbosch.

He said the new technique was a major step towards helping South Africa fulfil its millennium goal of eradicating poverty.

“One of the major problems of meeting the millennium goals is that there is not sufficient infrastructure to pipe water to everybody in the world – so this really is something which addresses the need right now,” Cloete said.

The bag had already prompted several inquiries from foundations providing relief to those without running water.

“People are not dying of thirst but because they don’t have access to safe water. This is inexpensive. It would cost about three cents a litre to produce water that is the quality of bottled water,” Cloete said.

The breakthrough coincides with the launch this week of a major Stellenbosch University initiative called the Hope Project, which hopes to combine the scientific expertise of several departments to address the country’s most pressing needs.

The university’s rector, Professor Russel Botman, said: “Whether it is renewable energy supply for the region, food security, conflict resolution and leadership or rural healthcare and development, we are looking to throw our weight behind the country and the continent’s most pressing needs.”

Source: Times Live