The WHO and UNICEF estimate that nearly 660 million people around the world do not have reliable access to safe drinking water.  Half of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa, in rural areas which will remain unconnected to any municipal piped water supply for the foreseeable future.  Entire communities obtain drinking water from unsafe sources (for example, untreated surface water) and are continuously at risk of contracting disease through exposition to waterborne pathogens and, in particular, fecal pathogens.


Water-Sustainable Point-of-Use Treatment Technologies (WaterSPOUTT) aims at providing safe drinking water to communities who rely on unsafe sources.  The project seeks to transform access to safe drinking water through integrated social sciences, education & solar technologies, thus improving health, survival, societal well-being & economic growth in African developing countries.  It is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration/ERC under grant agreement Number 688928.

The consortium is carrying out a technological development programme to advance three applications based on Solar Disinfection (SODIS), which can make water safe to drink after it has been collected.  In parallel, the social science programme led by NIRSA for Maynooth University has been structured to transform access to safe drinking water through social design and localised adaptation, operation, and management of integrated solar technologies in four case study areas in South Africa, Malawi, Ethiopia and Uganda


WaterSPOUTT's social science team aims to:

  • Build an integrated understanding and a profound analysis of the social, political and economic context of water use, needs and vulnerability in the four specific communities
  • Identify the relevant governance practices that potentially impact water resources, and in particular the use of integrated solar technologies for point-of-use drinking water treatment in these communities
  • Examine the effect of gender relations on domestic, local and national governance of water resources, and on local and household decision-making on uptake of solar water harvesting and SODIS reactors technologies
  • Determine the challenges faced at household, community, regional and national level in four African countries for the adoption of solar water harvesting and SODIS reactor technologies including the effect of gender relations on their uptake
  • Build capacity of local actors and governance structures at community level by assessing and advising on local governance structures and participation in governance in the four case-study areas
  • Co-design community-led, gender sensitive, educational and action programmes for the appropriate uptake of solar technologies

To find out more about the WaterSPOUTT project, please visit WaterSPOUTT

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research innovation programme under grant agreement no. 688928.