Scale-up Implementation of a Sustainable, Appropriate, Awards-winning, Arsenic and Microbial Removal Filter in Rural Nepal

EPA Grant Number: SU832492
Title: Scale-up Implementation of a Sustainable, Appropriate, Awards-winning, Arsenic and Microbial Removal Filter in Rural Nepal
Investigators: Murcott, Susan E. , Adams, Eric , Le-Tallec, Yann P.
Current Investigators: Murcott, Susan E. , Adams, Eric , Daisuke, Ueno , Frey, Suzanne , Kang, Cathy , Kit Ngai, Tommy Ka , Le-Tallec, Yann P. , Lucchino, David
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: October 1, 2005 through May 31, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


In the rural Terai region of Nepal, about 5 million people are affected by arsenic and/or pathogens in their drinking water. Previous mitigation efforts failed in those areas because of the use of inappropriate technologies and unsustainable implementation strategy. Currently, people have no alternative-options, but to drink contaminated water and to suffer from preventable water-borne diseases including diarrhea, cholera, stunted growth, skin lesions, and cancer. To combat this problem, MIT and two local partners developed an innovative, low-cost, awards-winning household-level drinking water treatment system, called the KanchanTM Arsenic Filter (KAF). This technically superior technology receives high acceptance and satisfaction by the users. Over 2,000 filters have been distributed so far, serving 15,000+ people.

The objective of this project is to expand this successful technology to the rest of Nepal by developing a sustainable scale-up strategy to provide safe drinking water to hundreds of thousands of needy people. This strategy will determine the most cost-effective means to increase people's awareness on water and health issues and to establish sustainable distribution/ financing mechanisms of KAF. The success of this research will be measured by the impact of our strategy, as compared to the current model, in terms of financing rate, number of filters sold, and long-term financial and organizational sustainability of all stakeholders.

This project improves health, livelihood and economic conditions of poor and disadvantaged villagers by providing safe water to the population and by building technical, managerial, and financial capacity among the locals. This project contributes to the local economy by the use of local labor and materials in filter construction and the exploration of adapted financing mechanism. These improvements are at no cost to the environment; on the contrary, this project promotes a more efficient and environment friendly use of natural resources.

Finally, this project will enhance student's sensitivity to sustainability. It will be integrated into the long-established MIT Nepal Water Project, the curriculum of the Design-That-Matters and Global entrepreneurship-Lab classes, as well as lunch seminars.

Supplemental Keywords:

drinking water, groundwater, human health, carcinogen, toxics, pathogens, bacteria, arsenic, sustainable development, innovative technology, treatment, community-based, cost benefit, survey, preferences, public good, willingness-to-pay, finance, engineering, social science, business, social marketing, entrepreneurs, transportation, industry,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Environmental Chemistry, Arsenic, Water Pollutants, Drinking Water, Environmental Engineering, alternative disinfection methods, microbial contamination, pathogens, disinfection of waters, filtration, arsenic removal, microbial risk management, point of use, contaminant removal, drinking water contaminants, drinking water treatment

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report