Pilot projects will focus on the delivery of sustainable clean water supplies and services to rural communities in areas of severe water scarcity and regional conflict. GWT will achieve this through its Water For Life programs. While numerous international relief and conflict resolution agencies are tasked with bringing emergency water aid and conflict resolution services to these communities, GWT's strategy is to create long-term solutions to achieve water for a peaceful life. Pilot projects will commence in in Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan), Africa (Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda) South America (Chile, Peru) and Central America (Honduras, Guatemala) in 2004.
The objective of the Water For Life projects is to provide a safe, reliable and sustainable clean water system for an average of 250,000 people within each project region. The construction of the water system is straightforward. What is challenging is a way to deliver sustainable clean water that rural communities can afford. GWT's goal is to:
· Phase I: Bring clean water to a family of five at an average cost of $1 per month
· Phase II: Expand the water infrastructure to include irrigation in order to create jobs and a sustainable economic environment
GWT and its partners will train community members to drill wells, pump groundwater, and manage water treatment and delivery systems. GWT will work with NGO partners, local stakeholders and governments to establish a long-term local presence in project countries to accomplish its objectives. Global Water Trust will deploy appropriate distribution, treatment and delivery technology with modules of filters, pumps and tanks to remove all health and cosmetic problems from the water. As required, GWT will provide dedicated solar power and other energy sources to supply sufficient water in each community using 15-20 liters per person/day as a minimum goal. This goal may vary with each community's needs.
· Create clean water for approximately 100,000-200,000 people within each project region
· Create a minimum of 100-200 short-term and long-term jobs within each project region
· Provide training for local people to perform the required jobs
· Provide an in-country supply chain for consumables and spare parts
· Create long-term support businesses in manufacturing and assembly
· Establish a long-term presence in rural communities by creating Community Water Trusts
· Document the process in order to provide transportability to other project regions
· Purification of arsenic contaminated wells utilizing reverse osmosis Arsenic Removal Kits
· Safe drinking water for the poor
· Locally produced reverse osmosis Arsenic Removal Kits for Bangladesh water crisis
· Village Water Cooperatives generating revenues for sustainability, capitalcost recovery and socioeconomic programs
Bangladesh Project Summary
This project aims to establish a viable solution for the arsenic contamination crisis in Bangladesh and assure access to safe drinking water for poor people. Specially designed reverse osmosis units, capable of removing arsenic, iron, and manganese from contaminated tube well water, will be installed in eight villages with electricity and six schools and household clusters without electricity, benefiting 18,000 affected people. Conforming to the clearly established preference for convenient water supplies, purified water will be supplied to elevated tanks and distributed through a piped-water system. Projected water costs are in the range of 15-30 cents per household per month, which, according to the Water and Sanitation Program survey (December 2002), is significantly less than half of the willingness to pay (75 cents/month) of poor households in rural Bangladesh. Public stand-posts and household connections will be considered, allowing for a subsidized fee schedule, benefiting poorer families.
In order to generate revenues, Village Water Cooperatives will be established within existing village structures for operation, maintenance and fee collection. In future projects, village revenues will contribute to capital cost recovery and community development projects in the health, education and agriculture areas. A local manufacturing facility, with specialized labor, will be established to produce all units in Bangladesh. All component parts, with the exception of the reverse osmosis membranes, will be produced and/or purchased locally. The massive nature of the Bangladesh arsenic crisis urgently requires a viable technological solution fueled by an economic model with a sound social foundation.
In Bangladesh, arsenic levels in millions of tube wells have been found to exceed the world health standard. An estimated 30-40 million people are at risk of arsenic poisoning. Arsenicosis is appearing in younger generations with alarming frequency indicating the progressive nature of this problem. Bangladeshis are some of the poorest in the world. Their poverty cycle is perpetuated by contaminated water, causing lose of productive time, creating financial burdens for individual households and entire villages. Malnutrition and difficult socioeconomic conditions further aggravate the hazards of arsenic poisoning.
The quest for a solution is hindered by a high percentage of stalled and abandoned projects whose technologies have failed to present viable solutions, resulting in high capital costs, high water cost, and lack of local acceptance. Tube wells are contaminated with arsenic as well as high levels of iron and manganese. In rural Bangladesh, 95% of the population relies on tube wells and 87% of the users are aware of the arsenic problem yet reluctant to accept solutions that are not as convenient. The demand for arsenic-safe water increases daily as more villagers are diagnosed with Arsenicosis and deaths become more prevalent. A clear preference for village piped-water systems has emerged as a desirable solution according to Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) study conducted by World Bank and BRAC, which has established the mean willingness to pay (WTP) 75 cents per month for poor households.
Village level socioeconomic conditions present difficult implementation challenges due to low-income earnings and unequal distribution of wealth. Any solution will have a cost. Introducing a fee for uncontaminated drinking water requires changes in traditional ways, necessitating a viable technological solution that meets the demand for convenience. The solution needs to be operationally and financially sustainable and motivated by village level benefits.
Along with our technology and NGO partners, TeknoAgua, BRAC and NGO Forum, our investigative visit to Bangladesh has led us to conclude that the solution demands a cost effective, locally produced technology, which can be implemented on a large scale and be readily accepted by local people. Of the proven arsenic removal technologies, reverse osmosis (RO) is the most effective, reliable, and widely used throughout the world today. Unjustly branded as expensive and technologically complex for the village level, it remains the only technology that has not been tried in Bangladesh. Over the last five years, TeknoAgua has developed a line of RO Arsenic Removal Kits (ARK), complying with VLOM standards, with flexible designs capable of servicing village populations from 10 households and up, with and without electricity. In addition to its low-maintenance and cost effectiveness, this solution is designed to distribute purified water through a piped-water system, satisfying village preference for safe and convenient drinking water. Resulting water costs, considering electricity, membrane replacement, operation and maintenance (O&M) are in the range of 15-30 cents per household per month, depending on village size. According to the WSP study these costs are significantly less than half of the costs rural Bangladeshis are willing to pay.
During the pilot project phase, we will install eight RO units with elevated tanks and piped-water distribution systems in villages with electricity. Additionally, a field test will be conducted on six RO units, powered by inventive hand pump designs produced in Bangladesh. These units will be installed in schools and household clusters without electricity and connected to rainwater storage tanks. The project will be implemented in three hydrological representative areas of high, medium, and low water tables, with varying degrees of tube well contamination. The project will cover a range of village sizes to validate the solution through a cross section of actual conditions. A manufacturing facility will be established through project funds to produce all units locally. All component parts, with the exception of the RO membranes, will be produced and/or purchased locally. This will ensure readily available technology, cost sustainability, and a specialized work force, resulting in capital costs between US$1.93 and US$2.45 per person for the pilot phase of the project.
The projected low water costs allow us to establish a model of revenue generating Village Water Cooperatives (VWC). VWCs will be owned and operated by benefiting villages through established socioeconomic structures. Along with our local partner NGOs, VWCs will supervise fee collection, O&M, and project monitoring. A subsidized fee base will be implemented where households with greater capacity to pay will receive a domestic connection, while poorer households will draw the same quantity of water from public stand-posts, thereby dividing costs among several benefiting families. Although the pilot phase of the project will cover all capital costs, future projects will recover a percentage of capital costs from water fee revenues. After capital cost recovery, VWC revenues can finance village projects in other sectors like health, education and agriculture, thereby deriving significant socioeconomic benefits for rural communities. This project combines a viable technological solution with an economically motivated and scalable model, directly benefiting the village-level population.
The projected beneficiaries are arsenicosis patients, users of arsenic contaminated tube-wells, local work force, future generations, and the entire country of Bangladesh.
Arsenic contaminated tube wells will be able to deliver safe water to presently affected people improving their health, socioeconomic conditions, and overall quality of life. The project design ensures that the poorest people, as well as those affected by Arsenicosis, will have access to safe drinking water. Piped-water systems presently installed in rural areas have achieved a high level of acceptance and participation of the villagers through presently established committees for O&M and fee collection. This supports the WSP survey, which clearly identifies a demand for piped-water systems and an evaluated WTP, confirming the validity of this project. Moreover, a village-level cooperative structure exists in Bangladesh with successful experiences in areas as diverse as education, micro-credit, rural electricity, and water and sanitation.
A local manufacturing enterprise will offer employment opportunities and technical training in the RO field. Selected villages will benefit by employment provided during implementation and the village caretaker position. Capacitating and professional field training of local engineers and other technicians will improve their expertise and broaden their knowledge of piped water systems and RO technology. Additional benefits will be incurred on the village level through the production of forest products irrigated by the discharge of the RO units.
The greatest benefits will be incurred from the revenues generated through the VWCs, by providing socioeconomic opportunities of village-managed projects, stimulating economic growth for rural Bangladesh.
Global Water Trust's Chairman and two team representatives from TeknoAgu have recently completed a field visit to Bangladesh and have defined the responsibilities to be assumed by our organization, Global Water Trust, BRAC and NGO Forum. TeknoAgua and Global Water Trust will be the project coordinator and local NGOs will be the implementation partners. TeknoAgua will train local NGO and private professionals in design and construction of piped-water supply systems and all aspects of RO technology. TeknoAgua engineers will design the systems, including detailed plans, technical specifications, procedures, and protocols. TeknoAgua will supervise the entire construction of the systems.
TeknoAgua will establish the local manufacturing facility, train local workers, and manufacture and test the RO units. All purchasing and assembly procedures will be carried out under our supervision. TeknoAgua engineers will commission and start-up all systems, compile O&M manuals, and train NGO engineers and village caretakers.
TeknoAgua has 16 years of experience in hydraulic engineering in design and construction of piping, filtering, water supply, irrigation, and effluent water disposal systems. Over the last five years the company has concentrated on design, construction, and O&M of RO systems for seawater and arsenic contaminated brackish water. The design concepts are supported by the technical assistance of Koch Membranes, a leading manufacturer of RO membranes, who have worked with us during prototype testing and arsenic rejection planning. TeknoAgua has designed and implemented large-scale projects with million dollar budgets for multinational companies such as Bechtel and other important mining companies in Chile and Peru. TeknoAgua has carried out humanitarian water relief projects in Chile.
NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation
Our primary partner is NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation. As a Bangladesh NGO they function as the apex networking agency of NGOs, CBOs, and private sector actors who implement water programs in poor communities. Their 20 years of experience in Water and Sanitation has allowed them to establish 14 regional offices in 64 districts in Bangladesh, covering a total of 10,890 villages. Through partnerships with 600 local NGOs and CBOs they have implemented projects benefiting 1,499,536 households.
We have reached formal agreements with NGO Forum who will work in collaboration with BRAC to carry out all implementation under our direction. The primary responsibility of NGO Forum and its partners is the implementation of the project over a period of 1 year. They will select villages, conduct meetings with village leaders, establish VWCs and their fee structures, and complete the necessary formalities with local government officials to secure implementation permission.
NGO Forum field engineers will carry out the survey process and site lay out of the designed systems according to our specifications. They will secure and contract a local labor force for tank construction and pipe installation. NGO engineers will supervise installation of pipelines and water tank construction.
NGO Forum professionals will assist TeknoAgua engineers in all the procedures of commissioning and start-up of the systems. Additionally, the NGOs will ensure management of each system, and provide education for the users. As soon as the systems are operating, monitoring of water quality and production will be carried out.
The key feature securing sustainability of this project is the low water cost obtained through our technology. The WSP survey has established the WTP at 75 cents per month for poor households and $1 per month for non-poor households. Since water cost obtained with the ARK units is between 15-30 cents per month, considering all O&M costs, this margin ensures financial sustainability. Bangladesh already has organizations and community structures that can establish the VWCs, which have demonstrated successful sustainability in other sectors. The continuous functioning of the VWCs is secured by the additional socioeconomic benefits derived by their revenues.
TeknoAgua has entered into agreements with local NGO partners. These partners have expressed strong interest in scaling-up their implementation of this technology based on pilot project results. Project goals included the transference of technology to the Bangladesh market. TeknoAgua's expertise in low-recovery, low-pressure RO technology will play a key role in the sustainability of this project.
The TeknoAgua manufacturing facility will continue beyond the first year to produce high quality, low cost RO units to meet VLOM standards to be sold locally, ensuring availability of technology. Revenues of US$8,000, generated by the manufacture of the ARK units for the pilot phase, will be invested in the continuous functioning of the facility. By offering technical assistance and project implementation support, a competitive market position will be secured and scaled-up operations will begin in the second year.
World Bank = $187,000
Global Water Trust = US$217,539 (pending)
Clear Water Project = US$25.000 (confirmed)
Building Partnerships For Sustainable Solutions
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