Water Capture and Filtration System for Arid Rural Communities

EPA Grant Number: SU833935
Title: Water Capture and Filtration System for Arid Rural Communities
Investigators: Macedo, Joseli , Sommer, Alex , Hutton, Christen , Patten, Iris , November, John , Weaver, Robert
Institution: University of Florida
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2008 through August 14, 2009
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The village of Sissene, Burkina Faso, is located in one of the least densely populated regions in Western Africa. It is greatly affected by lack of access to water, which is key to economic, physical and social growth. Lack of water is related to poverty, hunger, high rates of child and maternal mortality, gender inequality, and the spread of infectious diseases (Deen 2007). In the rural village of Sissene, rain only falls from June to August and since there is currently no way to collect and store water on a large scale, when residents run out of water they often migrate to neighboring towns in search of jobs, water and food. Our P3 team has developed a solution to this problem by designing a low-tech, low-cost system that improves upon a standard reservoir design to filter and purify stored rainfall year round.


An American nonprofit developer will begin construction on a standard deep open pool reservoir in Sissene in February 2008. Our design is intended to be a major improvement to this project, eliminating most evaporation, installing a system to filter rain and collected water, and distributing water for irrigation and household uses. Our design relies solely on solar energy, gravity, and basic principles of sustainability. This design will provide quantitative and qualitative improvements. The system will hold up to 7,920m3 (2,092,242 gallons), which should satisfy the needs of residents year round.

Expected Results:

We will measure the efficacy of our design by the amount of water collected during the first year and the length of time residents are able to survive off of the collected water. We will also measure the change in food production, livestock health, and changes in residents’ health. An important benefit of our design is that the residents will no longer have to rely on the underground aquifer to meet their water needs, relieving a significant amount of pressure from the natural environment. Access to water throughout the year will provide income generating opportunities, mitigate the scarcity of food, and provide a more stable environment for agriculture production. In addition, an educational component to teach principles of conservation, efficient methods of food production, the relationship between health and the built environment, and economic opportunities that are available with accessible water will be included in the project.

Supplemental Keywords:

water, water availability, water access, sustainable water management, drinking water, water treatment, water purification technologies, water filtration, solar powered water pumping, sustainable infrastructure design, water conservation, education and exchange,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report