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Project Solar Water Disinfection - A Water Treatment Process used at Household level

The aim of the SODISWATER project is to demonstrate that solar disinfection of drinking water is an effective intervention against a range of waterborne diarrhoeal diseases at household level and as emergency relief in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters.

Project number n/a
Geographical coverage Ireland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Spain, Kenya
Budget (in €) 1900000
Programme INCO MED (FP6)
Web site
Objectives General Objectives:
The strategic objectives of the SODISWATER project are:
To demonstrate that Solar Disinfection (SODIS) of drinking water is an appropriate, effective and acceptable intervention against waterborne disease for vulnerable communities in developing countries without reliable access to safe water.
To evaluate and test different diffusion and behavioural change strategies in areas with different social and cultural conditions for sustainable adoption of solar water disinfection.
To disseminate these research outcomes throughout the international aid and emergency relief communities so that SODIS is adopted as one of a range of standard water quality interventions (e.g. filtration, chlorination, desalination, etc.) for use in the immediate aftermath of natural (Tsunami, flood, earthquake, hurricane/typhoon) or man-made disasters (war-zone, famine, refugee camp).
To develop a range of simple SODIS enhancement technological innovations that can be matched to varying socio-economic conditions.- UV dosimetric indicators of disinfection, photocatalytic inactivation and continuous flow compound parabolic collector arrays for small community distribution systems.
The project will be carried out by an international team of researchers from 9 different groups in 7 countries within Africa and Europe.
Period 01/09/2006


  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (R.C.S.I.), Ireland.

    The R.C.S.I. is Ireland's largest undergraduate medical college and is internationally active in medical education, research, training and hospital management. The RCSI has a strong international presence with Schools in both Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain. Through its departments of Tropical Medicine and Epidemiology and an extensive international network of graduates, the R.C.S.I. nurtures strong links with health communities throughout the developed and developing world. R.C.S.I. is well equipped to conduct high-level research and has further benefited from over €40M of research infrastructure funding in the past 8 years. The R.C.S.I. Solar Disinfection (SODIS) group combines expertise in medical physics (Dr Kevin McGuigan), epidemiology & clinical trials (Ronan Conroy DSc), tropical medicine (Dr Sam McConkey) and clinical microbiology (Dr Siobhan Kehoe) to investigate all social, scientific and health related aspects of SODIS for use in developing countries or emergency situations. The four senior researchers that comprise the RCSI SODIS group have published over 150 peer-reviewed publications and specifically 18 peer-reviewed papers on the use of SODIS and/or running clinical trials in developing countries.


    Coordinator acts as project coordinator
    Country Ireland
    Web site
    Contact Dr Kevin McGuigan ,
    Position: SODISWATER Coordinator, Director of the R.C.S.I. SODIS group
    Phone/fax: +353 1 402 2100,
  • University of Ulster (UU), Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Research Institute (NAMRI), United Kingdom.

    NAMRI is one of a small number of very high priority research areas identified as such by the University of Ulster (UU). Over a number of years it has had a very high profile in research into structural and advanced functional materials. In particular the Institute has focused on the development of a New Nanotechnology research facility which is now fully operational with state of the art equipment. Photocatalysis is a key research area within NAMRI and the Photocatalysis Research Group (PRG) has a strong track record going back over a decade in research investigating the photocatalytic treatment and purification of water. The PRG has contributed to one FP4 project (PCATIE) and two FP5 projects (COCON and PEBCAT). UU was coordinating organisation for the PCATIE and PEBCAT projects. The PEBCAT project in particular has relevance to the current proposal in that a main goal of this project was to develop a photo-electro-bio-catalytic cell for the treatment of water containing low-level organic pollutants, chlorine resistant microorganisms, and nitrates. The COCON project has particular relevance in that our role was towards the development of novel photocatalysts that absorbed in the visible for splitting water using solar energy. The PRG is currently working on projects funded by the Department of Health UK looking at medical instrument deconamintation and a Cross Border Project with the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland looking at photocatalytic disinfection of implantable medical devices.

    Involvement in European Framework Projects:
    FP4 PCATIE ENV4-CT97-0632 (Coordinator, Partner)
    FP5 COCON ERK6-1999-00015 (Partner)
    PEBCAT EVK1-CT-2000-00069 (Coordinator, Partner)

    Country United Kingdom
    Web site
    Contact Dr J. Anthony Byrne,
    Position: the Group Leader of the Photocatalysis Research Group
    Phone/fax: ,
  • CSIR Environmentek, South Africa
    Country South Africa
    Web site
    Contact Martella du Preez,
    Position: senior scientist
    Phone/fax: +27 12-841-2000,
  • EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
    EAWAG is a Swiss-based and internationally linked aquatic research institute committed to an ecological, economical and socially responsible management of water - the primary source of all life. It carries out research, teaching and consulting and forms a link between science and practical application. Multidisciplinary teams of specialists in the fields of Environmental Engineering, Natural and Social Sciences jointly develop solutions to environmental problems. The acquired knowledge and know-how is transmitted nationally and internationally by publications, lectures, teaching, and consulting to the private and public sector.
    Country Switzerland
    Web site
    Contact Hans Joachim Mosler,
    Position: head of the research group "Modelling Social Systems" at EAWAG
    Phone/fax: ,
  • The Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD), Zimbabwe

    The Institute of Water and Sanitation evolved from the Training Centre for Water and Sanitation (TCWS), a project of the UNDP-World Bank programme that was hosted by the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Zimbabwe. The TCWS was established in 1989 with its major focus on capacity building and promotion of low cost technologies for rural water and sanitation sector in Zimbabwe. The success of TCWS and the demand for its services led to the formation of the now Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD) in 1993.

    The IWSD is a non-profit making, non-governmental organization that aims to assist in the achievement of sustainable development of water resources and waste management though the provision of support to development agencies in Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa region. In particular, the Institute addresses issues hindering access of the poor to services and the sustainability of the services.

    Specifically, the Institute:
    Provides technical and advisory support to agencies and development institutions
    Builds capacity though training and education programs
    Provides state of the art water and sanitation information on request
    Supports and carries out a strong applied research program to support decision-making and policy formulation in the water and sanitation sector.
    Core Activity Areas
    The IWSD supports applied research both for postgraduate studies towards a higher degree and as a management tool. It manages a regional research fund with a budget of about 1 million US$ per year.

    Advisory and Consulting Services
    The IWSD provides advisory services at various planning and implementation levels, through participation in sector meetings, preparation of case studies and analysis of information. Consulting activities cover both technical and non-technical areas related to water resources and waste management. This technical support has taken the form of project and program evaluation, sector reviews, needs assessments, human resources development, institutional arrangements, training and technology testing among others. IWSD is now recognized internationally for its services and examples are capacity building carried out recently in the Philippines and assistance given to Ireland for development of a sanitation policy.

    National and regional courses of short and medium duration are conducted in water and sanitation subjects. General courses are open to the region whilst an increasing amount of training is carried out to address the needs of sector agencies. The Institute collaborates with international training institutions to host courses specific to the needs of the Southern Africa region. Whilst technical, managerial and planning issues form the major part of training, an emphasis is also placed on training of trainers and the use of participatory approaches to enhance sustainability of services.

    Information Management
    The IWSD places much emphasis on the collection, documentation and usage of information. The Institute endeavours to provide critical analysis and documentation of sector issues. A library of published and unpublished, regional and international information related to water resources and waste management is available for reference.

    Guiding Principles
    IWSD is guided by the following principles:

    Efficient delivery of services
    Regular dialogue with client i.e. Consultation and feedback
    Confidentiality, protection of client's information and identity of interviewees where necessary.



    Country Zimbabwe
    Web site
    Contact ,
    Phone/fax: ,
  • Plataforma Solar de Almería (CIEMAT-PSA), Spain

    The Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas Medioambientales y Tecnológicas ( is a Public Spanish Organism owned by the Ministry of Education and Science. Its work deals with the research and technological development on energy (including Renewable Energies) and environmental related subjects. The Solar Energy Programme of CIEMAT includes the PSA -Plataforma Solar de Almería- ( as main national research centre. Formally considered as a European Large Scientific Installation, the Plataforma Solar de Almería is also the largest European Laboratory for solar energy applications. The PSA participates actively in demonstrative applications of different solar technologies, at national and international levels, with the main objective to improve the technology cost and efficiency and make possible the efficient collection of solar energy for electricity production, development of chemical applications, development and testing of materials under extreme conditions, desalination, etc.

    In the field of use of solar radiation for water treatment, our research group is actually working on an Investigation and Development Program in collaboration with different organisms and universities. Our knowledge about solar detoxification systems and processes at pilot and pre-industrial scale is backed up by more than 15 years of research activity. This wide research work has been recently rewarded by the Jury Award of the "European Grand Prix for Innovation Awards" (December, 11th, 2004). This group has been involved in the 18 European projects, all of them related to environmental technologies. Close collaborations with highly recognized international research and academic institutions have been established since several years ago. At present several European projects are running in collaboration with different European Institutes and Universities.

    This group has been involved also in various contracts with private companies due to its expertise in environmental technologies. Besides, our group has collaborated with a large number of institutions in Spain (University of Almería, University of Málaga, Institute of Materials of Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Institute of Materials of Sevilla). This let to perform several doctoral works (6 Doctoral Thesis concluded and 4 running). As well as, the solar chemistry group is closely linked to the work of private companies like ECOSYSTEM and AO SOL, through different European Projects.

    Country Spain
    Web site
    Contact Dr. Julián Blanco Gálvez ,
    Position: Head of the Research team of PSA-CIEMAT Solar Chemistry Group
    Phone/fax: ,
  • University of Leicester (UL), United Kingdom

    The Department of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation at the University of Leicester was formed in August 2003 by over 60 members of staff drawn from many different specialities. It has an international reputation for the quality of research undertaken in the field of microbial pathogenesis and is one of the leading UK universities in this respect ( The Department is very well equipped to conduct high-level research and has further benefited from over £1 million of infrastructure funding in the past 12 months. Besides the basic core facilities, it has an advanced microscopy unit, an animal house and a containment level 3 laboratory for safe manipulation of hazardous pathogens.


    Country United Kingdom
    Web site
    Contact Dr Simon Kilvington,
    Position: Research Fellow in the Department of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation at the University of Leicester.
    Phone/fax: ,
  • The International Commission for the Relief of Suffering & Starvation (ICROSS), Kenya
    ICROSS has 26 years experience of implementing health programs in East Africa and has provided public health consultancies to bilateral and multi lateral donors including the British Government, European Union, Indian Government and International organizations. ICROSS is funded primarily by bilateral and multi lateral donors including the Irish, Japanese, Canadian Governments as well as the Global Fund. It works closely with the Kenyan Government and is a member of 16 International NGO alliances, networks and NGO bodies. ICROSS has contributed significantly to international medical research. The purpose of ICROSS research programs is to improve the quality of life in Africa. The insights we have attained have been widely disseminated internationally, both through medical and scientific journals, international conferences, lobby groups like SODIS and the incorporation of ideas into policies. ICROSS research programmes are targeted specifically at problems faced by people living in poverty and seeks to answer pressing questions concerning patterns of disease and causes of death. Published research includes diarrhoeal infections, female circumcision, commercial sex work and trachoma blindness. We also believe that any research conducted in Africa must have immediate and direct practical benefit to the people themselves. It is our policy not to explore any research question unless there is a practical benefit that can come from the answer. We respect the people and communities that we work with, we have strict ethical criteria including informed consent and all our research is designed openly and transparently with the communities themselves. .Our work is designed and implemented by experienced professionals with a wide range of specialist skills ranging from medical demographers, bio statisticians, clinicians, health workers, anthropologists as well as child psychologists, trauma experts and microbiologists.
    Country Kenya
    Web site
    Contact Dr Michael Elmore-Meegan,
    Position: (D Med H NUI) Director ICROSS, Director ICROSS Research unit
    Phone/fax: ,
  • University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Spain

    The University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) is education and knowledge at the service of society. It is a singular institution due to its history, the impressive settings of Compostela and Lugo, where its campuses are located, its dynamism and its commitment to modernisation. Founded in 1495 by Don Lope Gómez de Marzoa, this institution maintains one of most important academic traditions in Europe, being always attentive to the growing demands of society and open to international collaboration.The USC is one of the nine Spanish universities included in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (2004), compiledby the Shangai Jiao Tong University.
    The USC is at the vanguard in the field of research and discoveries in emerging sectors and disciplines of great significance, such as Pharmacogenomics and Biotechnology. It has always been closely linked to Galician production sectors: food, agriculture,and fishing. It is greanted almost 40 million euros to support its research work:
       2/3 correspond to public finance (regional, national and European)    1/3 correspond to contracts with private companies.

    Between 1988 and 2004, 110 patents were applied for and 59 of them have already been granted (the process takes two to four years).
    Scientific production data from 2003:

    1,561 paper published in scientific journals
    231 chapters in books
    1,685 communications presented in congress
    The Department of Publications and Scientific Exchabge of USC publishes annually around 50 monographs and 20 journals.

    Country Spain
    Web site
    Contact Ms. Elvira Ares Mazás.,
    Phone/fax: ,