|Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Addressing drinking water quality challenges in developing countries: case study of Lake Victoria Basin
PI: Shem Wandiga (University of Nairobi)
U.S. Partner: Benito Mariñas (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), formerly Mark Shannon (deceased, October 2012)
Project Dates: May 2012 - May 2014
The goal of this project is to develop point of use water treatment technology that will be used to improve the quality of drinking water for the people living around the Kenya’s shore of Lake Victoria. The project will be carried out by University of Nairobi and Bondo University College academic staff and students in collaboration with the Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (WaterCAMPWS), science and technology center supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. The project will offer transdisciplinary cooperative knowledge development to postgraduate students of the institutions involved, improve the knowledge base of communities regarding water quality processes, develop prototype water purification platforms, and bring the successful platform to market scale. This project will provide synergistic research activities between biologists, chemists, environmental engineers, geneticists, material scientists, mechanical engineers, virologists, social scientists, and local stakeholder communities. The expertise from WaterCAMPWS will be used to help utilize locally available materials and regional expertise to develop novel and sustainable point of use water purification systems.
Kenya has large deposits of titanium oxide (TiO2) that are now being mined for export. Small particle semiconducting TiO2 photocatalysts have been extensively studied due to their relatively high reactivity and stability, and this study will build upon the photocatalytic advances made by WaterCAMPWS to extend the use of TiO2 to address regionally specific waterborne chemical and microbial contaminants. Expected outcomes of the project are: 1) improved regional access to safe water; 2) new materials and markets for point of use water purification systems that leverage regionally abundant and underutilized deposits of TiO2 ore in Kenya; 3) improved research capacity in water disinfection and purification; and 5) increased coordination in addressing drinking water problems at scientific, policy and local communities.
Summary of Recent Activities
During July-September 2013, Dr. Wandiga and his team continued their analysis of survey data. They also completed a new research paper entitled “Community perspectives: addressing drinking water quality challenges in Bondo District, Lake Victoria Basin,” to be submitted for publication. The paper summarizes their research findings aimed at developing point-of-use-water treatment technology to improve the quality of drinking water for the people living around the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria. Socioeconomic data about the community were collected to support establishing the relationship between the water quality challenges and community health conditions, and health challenges have been linked to water use and quality and household income. During the last quarter the team also conducted laboratory experiments for drinking water quality assessment. Kinetic studies were undertaken to ascertain the order of reaction of the catalyst with regard to methylene blue as an impurity. A meeting with the community will be held to present the final outcome of the project. Other outreach efforts have been ongoing as well: Dr. Wandiga presented a paper on water quality issues in Africa at the Indo-UK conference held at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, on August 13-14, 2013. His postgraduate student Simon N. Mbugua attended the 6th Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) conference September 2-3, 2013, in Lusaka, Zambia, where he gave a presentation on water purification entitled, “Water purification by tungsten-doped titania nanoparticles: towards overcoming quality challenges.”