HFH Indonesia And Lutheran World Relief To Provide Clean Water In Aceh

More Than 650 Families Will Benefit From Using Biosand Filters

ACEH, 20th December 2010: More than 650 families will benefit from a Habitat for Humanity Indonesia project to provide adequate access to clean water in Aceh in the northern part of Sumatra island.

Two barrels (top) are used for better filtration. Murky water (middle) is poured into the bigger barrel before it is filtered. The product is clean drinking water (bottom).

The project is a first-time partnership between HFH Indonesia and Lutheran World Relief, an international non-profit organization headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

Lutheran World Relief has worked in international development and relief since 1945. Together with its partners in 35 countries, Lutheran World Relief helps people grow food, improve health, strengthen communities, end conflict, build livelihoods and recover from disasters.

HFH Indonesia is conducting training in five villages – Lueng Mane, Cot Rambung, Cot Mue, Pulo and Drien Tujuh – in Kuala sub-district, Nagan Raya district.

Villagers in Lueng Mane were the first to be trained in understanding, using and maintaining the filtration technology.

Out of the 156 people trained, 15 have been selected as core trainers to set up filtration units and teach others. The project runs to March 2011.

The local communities in Aceh have been relying on shallow wells for their source of water.

As water drawn from the well is not clean, the villagers have attempted to filter it with a traditional method of gravel, sand and palm fiber from sugar palm. However, the palm fiber can be rotten which does not ensure the quality of the filtered water.

Partnering with Lutheran World Relief, HFH Indonesia introduced a filtration technology using the biosand filter which is adapted from the traditional filtration method.

The filter container is made of concrete or plastic and is filled with layers of specially selected and prepared sand and gravel.

Murky well water is poured into the container and filtered through the layers of sand and gravel. The result is clean drinking water.

According to HFH Indonesia, the biosand filter is cost-effective since it utilizes local materials; it is also easy to set up without requiring frequent cleaning.

More importantly, water filtered in this way is found to be free of coliform bacteria, as laboratory tests have shown.

Coliform bacteria will not likely cause illness but their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing organisms could be in the water system, according information on the Washington State Department of Health’s website.