Creating a SUSTAINABILITY ecosystem

This post was inspired by this article. When I was reading it, I was thinking about the WASH (water access, sanitation and hygiene) sector. This is not a surprise because I am pretty much constantly thinking about it.

I thought, what would a sustainability [meaning, simplified: the ability of an installed water system to function after the organization that installed it has left] ecosystem look like?

“In the ocean, a reef provides a structure that protects fish, provides food, and creates an arena for marine plants and animals to live and thrive.”

Using this example, the installed water system would be the fish (…or would the fish be the person using the water system?). What would the surrounding coral reef look like for the WASH sector? The ocean would be funding (as in the water would be the money…?). The coral would be local government. NGOs would be seaweed. Maybe the WASH sector right now would look a bit like the Great Barrier Reef and its current deteriorating state (sad…). The coral (local government) is being destroyed, weakened. The seaweed sustains the fish in the meantime but it is not a reliable source of food.

In the real world though (getting away from my marine metaphor) my initial thought is that the “ecosystem” would look something like this (yes, biased view, because I’ve been helping develop it). This is a platform for WASH sector stakeholders to promote the provision of lasting water services. It could be an on-line platform such as Or it could be a collection of organizations that give best practice advice for WASH project stakeholders. I also think WASH Cost and crowd-sourcing WASH data such as mWater and Akvo FLOW (FLOW is in development. Also I am planning a post about platforms such as mWater and FLOW) should be included in the ecosystem. They are tools that all stakeholders should be using.

As the article says:

Get the right people involved.

In this sector, that would mean promoting ownership by local government of water systems. It would mean getting donors to require long-term monitoring post project close-out (from when the grant agreement or contract is signed) of the system they are funding. One of the reasons that approx. 30% of WASH projects fail after 2-5 years is that the right people haven’t yet been involved in the sustainability dialogue. It’s donors and governments. They are the heavy-weights. NGOs will require monitoring of their systems if they are being required to by their donors.

In summary, there needs to be an environment (or ecosystem) in place that promotes WASH projects that actually last. Just what that looks like is to be determined. It something that I wholesomely intend to get to the bottom of.


Good night my WASH-y friends!


Chlorine gas a thing of the past! Electrochlorination is NOW!

Chlorination began in the early 1900’s and since then diseases such as dysentery, cholera, and typhoid have significantly decreased to almost 0% in 1950. It was a very impressive discovery with tremendous affects on sociey. Since then, electrochlorination is a newer more updated way to treat drinking water. It does not harm the environment and does not have any by-products like basic chlorination has. It is much safer to handle, is nontoxic, relatively easy to make and is a more natural way to treat drinking water.

Electrochlorination runs an electrical current in salt water to produce hypochlorite. It is considered to be a type of desalination and is a rather simple process. Saltwater is put into electrolyzer cells (after solids are removed). It is then moved through various channels that range in decreasing thickness and are charged with positive and negative low current DC. The reaction is a production of sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen gas, which has between 0.7-1% chlorine. It uses chlorine, a very common drinking water disinfection, in a hypochlorate solution that is dispersed within the system. The hydrogen gas is then removed and the solution is stored. It uses no chemicals!!

Electrochlorination follow this simple equation:

NaCl + H2O + Energy -> NaOCl + H2

Electrochlorination systems are usually used by large water utility companies before the water is pumped to households, but it is becoming more available to smaller populations and there are several installation engineering companies that design specifically for the clients needs .

It has several advantages:

  • Low costs
  • Used worldwide
  • Nontoxic because it is salt based
  • Easy to store
  • Safe to produce
  • Low maintenance
  • Long life cycle
  • Approved as a disinfection from the CDC
  • Reduces scaling because of a lower pH

Disadvantages are:

  • Effects biofilm in hot water pipes and tanks
  • Effect on bacteria is limited in the long term
  • Smell and taste is changed
  • Less effective with pH’s higher than 7.5Image

NOT too bad huh?!

Life Straw! Mini Water Purifier

My dream company to work for!! One day, one day… Check them out, absolutely incredible!!

Awesome Stuff To Buy Online

This is really neat invention that will allow you to drink water from questionable sources when you’re out on a long hike and don’t want to carry too much weight. It filters at least 99.9% of waterborne bacteria. This is very impressive but expected if you are filtering particles up to 0.2 microns.

Considering it’s only $25, it’s a great buy for anyone that likes be out in the wild for longer periods of time. You never know what may happen and water is a first priority. Although not the worst of the 7 enemies of survival, it surely will kill you the fastest and it is only a result of poor planning and preparation!

This lab instructor has balls enough to use this straw to drink from poo water! Watch Video

If you check out their Website, it looks like they have more plans than just using the…

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