Polluted water in urban poor communities transmits water-borne diarrheal diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, which can be particularly deadly to children. This evaluation studies whether a new inexpensive water chlorination method installed in community hand-pumps can reduce disease in poor communities in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Governments in developing countries need cost-effective solutions to provide clean water to growing urban populations, especially in slums where families may share water from a central tap or hand pump. Water-borne diseases can lead to illnesses that stunt children’s growth, hurt their health and even kill.
Research area: Early Childhood Nutrition, Development, and Health
Evaluation Sample: All poor households, with at least one child under five, that access one of 160 studied shared water points in Dhaka.
Timeline: 2013 - 2017
Intervention: Water disinfecting technology
Researchers: Stephen Luby, Stanford University; Amy Pickering, Stanford University; Peter Winch, Johns Hopkins University; Michael Kremer, Harvard University; Leanne Unicomb, icddr,b; Farhana Sultana, icddr,b; Pratibha Mistry, World Bank
Partners: Dushtha Shathya Kendra (DSK); Stanford’s Lotus Water Initiative (LWI); J-PAL Urban Services Initiative; Government of Bangladesh; icddr,b; Stanford University; Johns Hopkins University; Harvard University
Studies have looked at the effectiveness of making available to households free or cheap chlorine (see: Evaluations for chlorination). But distributing chlorine requires changing people’s behavior so they use chlorine tablets or dispensers, which isn’t always easy.
This project seeks to reduce the global burden of water-related illness by developing and implementing a low-cost, in-line chlorination technology that delivers chlorine automatically when water pumps are used. The results of this impact evaluation will help inform programs seeking to ensure clean water, potentially offering an alternative approach for reducing water-borne illnesses that can harm especially children’s development.
|Fully one third of the world's population- approximately 2.3 billion people- rely on shared water points, and this percentage has not changed over the past 20 years (The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, 2012).|
In Dhaka, more than 20 percent of the city’s 15 million residents live in slums and almost all rely on shared taps or handpumps for water. Efforts to market in-home disinfection technologies, such as chlorine products and filters, have not succeeded. Dhaka’s public water utility company has not considered installing disinfecting solutions at shared community distribution points because cost-effective technologies aren’t yet available. In this project, researchers are using an inexpensive technology to automatically add chlorine to water dispensed at public taps and shared hand pumps. The technology, developed by Stanford University, is easy to install and maintain, has no moving parts, and does not require electricity to operate.