Category Archives: 300in6

Your April learning curve

Want to catch up, build up, your knowledge of HWTS, as a practitioner or facilitator? There’s a new five-week online course, starting 7 April, for you on the why, and treatment options, more treatment options, implementation and impact assessment. A kind of HWTS 101, highly admirable, and an important part of the palette of the safe water scale-up. It is, mind, a tad techy, with stuff like ‘supply chains’ and ‘demand creation’ tucked away into a crowded fourth week.

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is organised by Sandec, the Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) with the EPFL technical university of Lausanne. +1.

Benchmark in action: Testing times indeed

At last! The first round of testing was announced today for the International Scheme to Evaluate Household Water Treatment Technologies, established by the WHO in the spring of 2013. After detailed preparation of protocols, the closing date for this round is a tad sudden: 10 March 2014.

The scheme assesses the performance of HWTS products – to be tested in independent labs – in removing bacteria, viruses and protozoa from water intended for drinking.

With governments and UN agencies its prime beneficiaries, it’s important to note the international nature of the scheme. Implicitly, The level of national standards could differ, when governments can establish them, and their enforcement locally is a whole other issue.

So, here we have it, the benchmark has come. Speaking ergonomically, we may sometimes grumble at the way some HWTS devices require the user to climb and clamber in the kitchen to pour water down to a filter, but, hey, in terms of standards, the higher the better.

General inquiries on the Scheme to Maggie Montgomery (

The Water Book of the Year, Decade, Millenia!

It comes in weighty with some 600 pages, but that’s not why ‘Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia’ shakes in your hands. The book vibrates with that impassioned knowledge that engineers sometimes allow themselves. Clearly a labour of love, it is fabulous, in the true sense of the word, relying on ancient fables, legends, parchment scripts and original stone tablets for some of its tales.

It sweeps us from the early treatment and delivery of water in such societies as ancient Egypt, Greece, Mexico and Peru, up to today. The vision and precision of our forebears puts into perspective, in the unfailing spotlight of history, today’s breath-taking dilemma of all the tech in the world and three to four billion people with unsafe water. When did we lose the plot?

We found this book and its committed authors, a full 500 days too many after publication, when scoping our video on the history of safe water. It is both gorgeous and instructive, and the more the pity that the authors and publishers see it as just a course book for post-graduates. Well, ok – for historically-informed engineers are the best – but it deserves a wider circle of admirers than that.

Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia, by Angelakis, Mays, Koutsoyiannis and Mamassis, 584 p, ISBN 9781843395409

International Water Association,


Bollywood, Bollywater?

The film crews have gone, the Bollywood actors and actresses have withdrawn with sighs of relief and renewed commitment, the village women have left their hiding places and swept up, the village men have chortled yet again about when the chicken sat(?) on the camera lens and Normal Life has returned to a settlement in the Indian state of Odisha. Oh, and the chicken still clucks around, head-up.

A Bollywood-style film on safe water has been in preparation in India, with the stimulus of ‘One Drop’, a somewhat classical Canadian NGO with the difference of some hefty funding. We filmed the filming of this ‘social arts initiative’ for the 300in6 video suite.

Due for release in mid-2014, the film has been attracting much attention in some communities of practice of behaviour change. Will the chemistry of artists, engineers and health workers work? Worth a try. Coming soon to a screen near you.