The St Andrews Prize for the Environment

University of St Andrews

ConocoPhillips

2016 Finalist

SPOUTS of Water - Ceramic Water Filters in East Africa

SPOUTS of Water - Ceramic Water Filters in East Africa

SPOUTS OF WATER provides clean drinking water to people in East Africa by manufacturing and distributing affordable ceramic water filters. As an alternative to boiling water, the project installs filters in schools, prisons, refugee camps, police and army barracks and other public spaces. SPOUTS of Water started as an attempt to circumvent the cycle of aid and dependence that many clean water solutions seemed to perpetuate.

The need for clean water is particularly critical in Uganda with roughly 25% of the population having little or no access to safe drinking water. Water-borne disease remains the leading cause of death for children under five in the country.

In Uganda, centralised solutions for clean water are often ineffective. Tap water is not safe to drink as wells and boreholes are often contaminated. Ceramic water filters are a cost-effective, culturally acceptable and safe household solution. An impact assessment study by UNICEF on the use of ceramic water filters in Cambodia found that these filters are an effective, chemical-free solution to accessing clean water.

SPOUTS of Water takes a market approach, locally manufacturing affordable and effective ceramic water filters that last more than two years. At a cost of $20 USD, the filters can provide clean drinking water for 10 people or more. The project has been successfully implemented in schools in East Africa as part of the organisation’s ‘Filters for Schools’ programme. SPOUTS installs filters directly in schools and educates students, teachers and parents on the importance of clean water and hygiene.

In 2015, SPOUTS of Water distributed more than 3,800 filters, providing clean drinking water to more than 45,000 people and reducing carbon emissions by more than 5 million kg of CO2 per year. SPOUTS can do more. Currently demand is greater than production capacity. Some 1,000 filters have been distributed in South Sudan and SPOUTS is currently partnering with organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya with a plan to expand into other neighbouring regions as well.

SPOUTS of Water currently works with organisations like Save the Children, World Vision and UNHCR to provide clean drinking water access in public spaces. Their aim is to create a profitable market product that provides a sustainable solution to the clean water crisis. The organisation wants to create a model of providing clean drinking water in much needed areas that is self-sustaining, scalable and replicable in other parts of the world.

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