The members of the Board of “Easy Water for Everyone” would like to review what has been done and also give a peek into our future. We believe that we are making significant progress in providing pure water to increasing numbers of people, with the primary aim being the reduction of life threatening diarrheal illness in infants and young children particularly in the larger areas of the twenty odd estuarial islands of the Volta river in Ghana. Mothers have provided anecdotal evidence of the complete disappearance of diarrhea in the villages we are working in and have visited in the past few days.
First, we draw your attention to the website: www.easy-h2o.org which reflects our NGO status and is the site for more general donation capabilities. (We are in the final stages of initiating a massive(!) email campaign to family, friends and colleagues to announce our website). Over the last week we have visited all our locations in the sites close to Kumasi and in Ada near Accra (estuarial islands). With the exception of one site the device (NUF500) we are using is working very well and we will have the latter back online shortly). We are very fortunate to be working with a young man, TT Ocansey, a plumber by training, whose ideas have substantially improved the effectiveness and practicality of the device. Fig. 1 shows one major change which consists of using raised “towers” to take advantage of gravity to provide filtration, but also back washing. The latter had been a weak point, until recently, necessary because in its absence, silt accumulates around the tiny hollow fibers which are the basis of the technology. Now both filtration and backwashing occur without intervention except for the periodic opening of a set of valves. All the members of the community have to do to obtain clean water is to open the faucet. The picture below shows our smallest community member performing this function. The patronage of the water system has increased markedly with users coming long distances to obtain our water.
The next 4 devices will be here this coming week from Israel and four more by the middle of August. We expect by the end of the first quarter of 2019 we will have 25 functioning sites on the estuarial islands of Ada, providing pure water to over 10,000 people and in the Kumasi area approximately to 1,000 villagers in two already functioning sites. To remind you, note that we install devices only where there is no power sources nor functioning boreholes.
We have two further projects under consideration, which are larger and in cooperation with others: The first is also in Ghana, in three villages (area of Abono), with related schools and a clinic. There is electric power in the villages but not in the schools. At present, only a series of contaminated boreholes serve this area for water. We aim, with the assistance of Mino Negrin, the CEO of the Israeli company “NUFiltration”, to establish our NUF 500 device (see below) at the schools and clinic while a like-minded NGO based in Switzerland, working with NUFiltration, will install a solar powered version of the device for the villages with populations of over 1,500, which are too large for our device. (This version uses 16 filters instead of 8 and could provide 2000 liters of water per hr.)
The second is more ambitious: there is an island off the southern coast of Lake Victoria, near the town of Mwanza, by name Bezi, which is an area of much suffering. The water all around the island is contaminated and because of its situation of being an hour (by small fishing vessel) from the mainland, the lake water which the inhabitants have to use is not chlorinated. Diarrheal illnesses are rife and the death toll is high in the young. We have been there, and have had discussions with the academic leaders of the University in Mwanza to work together to provide devices to purify water, pump lake water up to the center of the island using gasoline-powered pumps from where the water would be purified and distributed by suitable tubing to sites all around the island.
It should be noted that in all areas in which devices are installed in Ghana (and we hope in Tanzania), we study in local clinics and by survey of houses the problems of water contamination and its effects on disease, before and after installation of devices. We obtain the approval of local and central government and of relevant institutional review boards. These data will eventually be published.
As you can tell our enthusiasm has only increased. So many mothers have approached us to say that diarrhea has disappeared in their children. With these words, back in NY we forge on with increased energy. In the meantime, we continue with our efforts and have already scheduled our return to Ghana for the first week of December to visit our current and new sites (where we have made very good friends).