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,


Knock, knock, who’s there? It’ssss Nazava!

A surging player in HWTS, the Indonesian Nazava Water Filters company won the main prize in the Nokia Health Category of the Tech Awards 2013 and received a cash prize of 75,000 USD at the annual Tech Award Gala, on 14 November, in San Jose, California. Nazava is one of 10 global innovators recognised` each year for applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change, the Gala said.

Accepting the award, co-director Lieselotte Heederik said: “Nazava strives to provide 1 million people with improved health, average annual savings of $70 per household, 39,000 t CO2 reductions and employment for 300 people in 2016. Currently Nazava has sold over 17,000 water filters that improve the health of over 80,000 people.”

Scaling up access to safe water