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Question about Water filtering in Cambodia (see additional details)

A friend on mine, Sue Addison, lives in Cambodia and works on projects involving families in a very poor village called Mondul Bai very close to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap province (the project is called The Kitchen of Hope). She has asked me if WaterAid have any information about clay pot water filters - see Are these effective and value for money (at $20-30 each)?

Sue will be back in the UK during September and would also be interested in meeting someone from WaterAid to discuss such solutions, how she can test water quality (she is a qualified pharmacist) and whether any support from WaterAid in Cambodia might be available.


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Hi Bob

I had not heard of the specific solution by Potter without Borders work but low cost filters of different materials are widely used and adopted in different countries based on local technology availability. I agree that performing a more detailed assessment of the treatment capacity with water quality testing is an important validation of the treatment capacity of the filters. Is there any data on water quality improvements? Other aspects to consider are - long term life cycle of the solution, maintenance needed etc For water quality testing there are many portable kits (DelAgua, Aquagenix for example) or use of laboratories for testing.


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Hi Bob. There is quite a lot of information provided by the Ceramic Water Purifier (CWP) manufactures which are based in Cambodia. Most notably Hydrologic which produces the Super Tunsai.

Is it effective? The short answer is yes, if used and maintained properly. Maintenance is minimal compared to many other filtration technologies, which makes it more ideal for household use. Here’s a video that I think does a good job explaining how CWPs work:

Value for Money? We’ve seen reports that CWPs can have a life span between 2-4 years. Which for an upfront cost of US$ 30-40 is a pretty good value. Of course, it’s only a good value if it’s used. Additional project costs are likely needed to support information and training activities and materials to users.

Can WaterAid Cambodia give technical advice? No problem. We would be happy to meet Sue and show her water quality testing options. Please pass along my contact information below.

Hope this helps. J.

James (“J.”) Dumpert Learning and Documentation Manager WaterAid Cambodia Ph: +855-12 570 891

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Many thanks for this James. I've passed this on to Sue and passed on your invitation to get in touch for further discussion.

Bob Prothero gravatar imageBob Prothero ( 2017-09-18 06:27:59 -0500 )edit

Hi Ellen, Many thanks for your reply to this. I've sent it on to Sue. Would you (or someone from the PSU) be willing to meet with Sue (either phone or in the office) to chat further about her work in Cambodia and what help we may be able to provide (e.g. technical papers, reports, local contacts - whatever is available)?

Thanks, Bob

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UNICEF have done quite a lot of research in Cambodia on the use of clay pots for water purification, working with RDI who have established a manufacturing facility for the pots. This paper gives results of some of their research

Regards Harriette (RedR)

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Many thanks for the reply Harriette; I've sent this on to my friend Sue in Cambodia

Bob Prothero gravatar imageBob Prothero ( 2017-09-18 06:27:07 -0500 )edit

Ceramic filters can and do work, but their effectiveness is dependent on the manufacturing process which can be difficult to control. If the manufacture of the filters you are looking at includes a an anti-bacterial treatment-for example dipping the fired pots in a silver nitrate solution then I think they may be a reasonable approach. IF they do not I would look elsewhere, perhaps locally available candle filters.

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Many thanks, John. I've passed this on to Sue in Cambodia.

Bob Prothero gravatar imageBob Prothero ( 2017-09-21 04:35:38 -0500 )edit

Just to add proper use and maintenance are important. I have an abiding memory of chancing on the cleaner in a project staff house in Chad washing the filters and the receiving container with the very water which we were so worried about drinking...

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2017-09-04 05:55:22 -0500
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Sep 24 '17