Antenna Technologies (Switzerland) has developed WATASOL, a household water treatment and storage (HWTS) approach that integrates health education with the local production of chlorine in a sustainable supply chain, making safe water treatment an income generating activity for local communities.
A WATA device requires water, salt and electricity. When immersed, and connected to a reliable source of electricity, a process of electrolysis takes place, converting the saline solution (sodium chloride) – with 25 grams of salt per litre – into active chlorine (sodium hypochlorite).
Three on-site chlorinator models are available:
- Mini-WATA kit: 0.1 litre active chlorine/hour, serves 240 people (€ 40, excl. shipping)
- WATA Kit: 1 litre chlorine/hour, serves 2,400 people (€ 200, excl. shipping)
- Maxi-WATA Kit: 15 litres chlorine/hour, serves 36,000 people (€ 1700, excl. shipping)
In order to measure the chlorine concentration in a chlorine solution, Antenna Technologies has developed the WataTest reagent.
Available in 50 Countries
WATASOL devices are in operation in almost 50 countries, through community-based organisations, NGOs and local community and private enterprises. In 2009, Antenna Technologies introduced a franchising model with community enterprises.
"Uzima Mamas" in Goma, DR Congo, who sell water disinfectant produced by WATA devices. Uzima is a Swahili word with many meanings including abundance, fullness, wholeness, health, life and clean water
New Pilot Projects
With support of UNICEF in Mali, and the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency and Caritas Switzerland in South Asia, Antenna is launching two WATASOL major pilot projects. Their objective is to
- To provide an autonomous and sustainable solution for safe drinking water at household level based on local production of chlorine through electrolysis
- To control the quality of the produced chlorine and of the drinking water after the chlorination
- To create income generating activities based on the local production and distribution of the concentrated chlorine solution to contribute to the promotion of HWTS
- To establish methodologies for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of domestic safe water through the local production and sale of chlorine
- To document and capitalise these experiences in order to replicate them
- To prepare a “scaling up-phase” based on the know-how and lessons learned.
This project, which is supported by UNICEF aims at improving the quality of domestic water for 50,000 people in four priority zones in Mali.
The local production of chlorine would also allow health centres of these places to use a high-standard and cheap disinfectant. The following local NGOs are responsible for the implementation of the project in the identified zones:
The NGO Le Tonus runs a programme to fight cholera, which persists in the region of Kayes.
Formations Sans Frontières will equip ten health centres in the Mopti region with the active chlorine production systems, run with solar panels.
Aidemet works on the promotion and local production of chlorine in partnership with Antenna Technologies in the district of Kadiolo (Sikasso region).
AS EDEN plans to use electro chlorinators to treat water from wells in the municipality V and the suburban zone of Bamako (Ganouan).
ASACOBA works in partnership with Aidemet in the urban zone of Bankoni for the promotion of the local production of chlorine.
These zones of intervention have the advantage of representing a large spectrum of different situations: urban, rural and suburban settings; precisely one of the objectives of the project is to document the feasibility of the local production of chlorine of HWTS in diversified contexts.
Antenna Technologies launched a two-year WATASOL programme together with its four partners. The aim of this programme is to develop viable economic models generating income for the people involved in the sale and promotion of chlorine.
Here is a brief overview of the partners and their implementation plans:
Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) – Nepal: The objective of this project is to promote access to drinking water in schools and communities to prevent water-related diseases in the centre and the east of Nepal.
At the school level, the emphasis will be on raising hygiene awareness, access to safe water as well as to the reduction of sickness absences in schools. The production and the dissemination of the flasks of chlorine will be done by social entrepreneurs who ensure the quality of the product, its regular use and the hygiene consciousness.
Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSKB) – Nepal: This project aims at improving the access to safe drinking water for workers and their families in four brickyards in the valley of Kathmandu. The collected data shows that the productivity of the workers is impaired by waterborne diseases. The objective is to get to a win-win situation between the workers and entrepreneurs.
Development Alternatives (DA) – India: The aim of this project is to provide safe water systems to ten slums of New Delhi through the sale of chlorine produced by social entrepreneurs. The chlorine will be injected directly into the containers with water of the households. This project is combined with a large awareness-raising campaign among the communities.
Centre for Mass Education in Science – Bangladesh: The production of chlorine will be realised by trained disadvantaged young women who will be responsible for the promotion of hygiene and the sale of chlorine. This activity should generate a stable income for these women.
Web sites: Antenna Technologies – Drinking Water and News Antenna Technologies blog
See also: Akvopedia – WATAsol
Founded in 1989, Antenna Technologies is a non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is primarily a network of scientists, researchers and engineers working in tandem with a communications & coordination team. Funding comes from foundations, private donations and institutional funds.
Source: Antenna Technologies Newsletter, March 2010