Water Project: Rwanda

by Will Howard

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Rwanda

Rwanda is an one area of the world in desperate need of water purification systems. This country receives enough rainfall, but due to lack of infrastructure and sanitation, the rainfall is not useful or is damaging to those who drink it.

Large Scale Solution

One large opportunity for water purification in Rwanda, is a water treatment plant on Lake Kivu. Water treatment plants work by pumping in water from a source of water, in this case Lake Kivu. The treatment process would be as follows:



  1. Coagulants are mixed into the water and cause the large particles to clump together.
  2. As the water sits in the tank, the particles fall to the bottom and are removed.
  3. The smaller particles are removed as water is filtered through layers of materials resulting in clearer water.
  4. Disinfectants are added to shield the water from bacteria, viruses, and microbes that are still alive before it goes into underground reservoirs.
  5. Alkaline substances are added to maintain the pH levels so that the water distributions system does not corrode.


The cost of building a water treatment plant to supply clean water for the whole country, would be $2-4 million. According to costwater.com, it costs $483,333 per month to run a water treatment plant with an output of 100,000 cubic meters of water



Advantages:

  • water treatments plants are able to treat large quantities of water
  • water treatment plants use mechanized processes to ensure water safety
  • water treatment plants are able to distribute large amounts of water very long distances through infrastructure
Disadvantages:
  • Costs lots of money to maintain and run
  • requires skilled laborers to operate

Medium Scale Solution

A well can provide water to a large number of people. It pumps clean, uncontaminated water out of the ground, but what if it were better.


Ground water is not totally clean, so the well has a filter system with layers of gravel and microfiber to clean out all contaminants in the water.


Water wells cost $2,000-$3,000 to build, but they have no reoccurring costs.


Advantages:


  • relatively cheap
  • easy to operate
Disadvantages:



  • expensive to fix

Small Scale Solution

One opportunity to filter the water that individuals drink, is to give them a filtered straw.


The filtered straw is just like a normal straw, but much sturdier and contains layers of microfiber cloth to filter any harmful contaminants in the water as the person is drinking it.


These straws can cost $15-20 apiece, no further cost after that.


Advantages:


  • Cheap to produce and distribute
  • easy to use
Disadvantages:



  • easily lost or damaged