Safe Water Network Launches First In A Series Of Slow Sand Filtration Sites Around Lake Volta
Safe Water Network’s new Aveme site utilizes an innovative, modular slow sand filtration system. A key benefit to this approach, together with the abundant water volume of Lake Volta, is the small incremental expense to deliver additional safe water—systems can easily grow to serve more people. Additional economies of scale can be achieved by clustering these sites, resulting in greater efficiencies and cost-effective regional oversight.
Current estimates indicate that this slow sand filtration approach can provide safe water to more than 500,000 people in the area. Beyond the immediate focus on the potential in the Lake Volta region, slow sand can be applied in other parts of West Africa, or any location internationally with an appropriate surface water source. In addition, the use of solar power eliminates the need for grid electricity, creating even greater potential for impact.
Launched on World Water Day, March 22nd, in attendance were key project stakeholders including Relief International, Volta River Authority Resettlement Trust, Clark Sustainable Resource Development and dignitaries from Parliament. This modular slow sand filtration system was the first of its kind in Ghana.
Prior to the station opening, the roughly 4,000 people of Aveme relied on surface water, which is contaminated with a variety of life-threatening parasites and microbes. Now the population has access to an affordable and abundant source of safe water.
Safe Water Network worked closely with community leaders and will continue to provide the training and support to enable them to ultimately own and operate this site on their own. Our initiative builds upon the learning we’ve achieved from our Ghana operations that provide safe water access to over 45,000 people.
Because of slow-sands’ simplicity and lower operating cost, there is great potential to broadly replicate this approach wherever water that is not turbid or contaminated with heavy metals exists.
Future plans include direct connections to schools, health clinics and restaurants. In the long-term, we will also explore the possibility of complementing community kiosks with direct household connections.
Safe Water Network plans to launch an additional 40 sites in Ghana over the next three years, providing another 100,000 people safe water access. These sites will also help us further refine the model to standardize the approach for rapid replication.