Biosand Water Filter Project in Jironkota, Bolivia

Biosand Water Filter Project in Jironkota, Bolivia

Drinking water from a Mano a Mano biosand water filter.

Drinking water from a Mano a Mano biosand water filter.

People in Jironkota, Bolivia are now using the biosand water filters built in collaboration with Mano a Mano earlier this year!

So far, 37 families have had water filters installed at their homes. 220 residents have been trained on the importance of clean water, along with 24 officials from three other municipalities (their interest in this project is likely to increase requests for training from their constituents).

Child in Bolivia drinking from the biosand water filter at his home.

Child in Bolivia drinking from the biosand water filter at his home.

Decreasing murkiness of their water is the primary benefit, and reducing bacterial count is the second benefit.

Project Steps

  1. The Mano a Mano agronomist assessed trainee’s learning about the benefits of clean water through simple post-training verbal questions (many trainees are not literate).
  2. The agronomist observed as trainees constructed their filters.  She repeated the training process until trainees could construct filters correctly at the CEA site. Following the formal training, the agronomist traveled to the trainee’s community to observe additional training of other farmers and determine whether the filters were constructed and being used correctly.
  3. University of Minnesota students and other U.S. volunteers continue to complete an extensive literature search on diffusion of technology to both shape and affirm our approach to this project. Their findings thus far strongly support the method used by Mano a Mano to engage farmers as agents of the changes they seek.
  4. CEA interns from the U.S. sampled farmer’s drinking water prior to and three months following use of the filters. Analysis of the level of coliform bacteria for both sets of samples was completed at the Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Initial Lab Results of the Filters

After three months of filter use, the level of total coliform bacteria ranged from an 86-100% reduction and the level of fecal coliform bacteria ranged from a 92-100% reduction, a strong positive result. (Anything over 90% improvement is generally considered successful.) Also, the filters get better over time because the “good” bacteria continue to multiply at the top of the filter and “eat” the disease-causing bacteria.

Biosand water filter at a home in the Jironkota area of Bolivia.

Biosand water filter at a home in the Jironkota area of Bolivia.

Pictures from Installation of Water Filters

Center for Ecological Agriculture

This water filter project is a pilot project throught our Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA). Special thanks to Oxford Development Abroad and the Pentair Foundation, who have supported this project!



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