KTH Royal Institute of Technology / International Society of Groundwater for Sustainable Development / Ramboll Water / United Nations Children’s Fund

Sediment Color Tool: Empowering local drillers for safe water provision

Tuesday 28 August | 11.00-11.45 | Room: NL 253

Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right and an important component for effective public health protection. The widespread occurrence of natural arsenic (As) in groundwater in Bangladesh has drastically reduced the safe water access in Bangladesh. Keeping in view the magnitude of the human health impacts and the outcomes of the mitigation programs, the main challenge is to develop a sustainable mitigation option for scaling up safe water access. Tubewells are most widely accepted safe drinking water option, and ~90% of the tubewells are installed by the community based local tubewell drillers. Distinct relationship of sediment color and corresponding As concentrations in water has been documented through a number of recent studies. Using the local drillers' perception of sediment color and experience of tubewell installation, a Sediment Color Tool has been developed together with local driller’s to identify As-safe aquifers in regions with high arsenic risk. The use of the tool will minimize the risk for high arsenic concentrations in the drinking-water bringing significant change to reduce As exposure and scale-up access to safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh and thus enabling to meet the target of the SDG 6 in drinking water sector.


Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.

Programme

Showcase 8140 : Sediment Color Tool: Empowering local drillers for safe water provision (8140): 

Day: 28 Aug 2018 , Time: 11:00-11:45 

Program

11:00 - 11:05   Welcome and Introduction   Sylvia Gaya (Senior Advisor, Water and Sanitation, UNICEF WASH Section, New York) 

11:05 - 11:10    Address by KTH Vice President    Göran Finnveden (KTH Royal Institute of Technology) 

11:10 - 11:15    Showcasing the Sediment Color Tool – An Example of Transformation of Science-Based Knowledge to Local Capacity Development of Private Sector for Safe Water Provisions.  Mattias von Brömssen (Ramböll Sweden AB) / Prosun Bhattacharya (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)  

11:15 - 11:20    Embedding the Private Sector (Local Driller) Capacity for Service Delivery Provisions and Strengthening the Drinking Water Safety.  Nargis Akter (UNICEF-Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh) 

11:20 - 11:25    Mitigation of Arsenic in Bangladesh – Challenges and Way Forward.  Tushar Mohon Shadhu Khan (Project Director, Arsenic Mitigation Project, DPHE,Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh) 

11:25 - 11:30    ASMITAS – A Novel Application for Digitalizing the SASMIT Sediment Color Tool to empower local drillers. A documentary.  Sanjeev Sharma/Prosun Bhattacharya  Exceldots AB/KTH Royal Institute of Technology 

11:30 - 11:40    The way forward – embedding the tool in capacity development of the sector professionals and further innovations – Discussion    Leaders: Sylvia Gaya/Nargis Akter (UNICEF)  

11:40 - 11:45     Concluding remarks.  Prosun Bhattacharya (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)     


Conclusion

Summary and Conclusions

The Showcase Event began with opening remarks from Dr. Silvia Gaya, Unicef HQ. She briefed the UNICEF role in increasing the safe water coverage and strong commitment for mitigating the arsenic risk in groundwater. Dr. Göran Finnveden from KTH explained ongoing research on groundwater science and KTH initiatives in SDG Goals. Prof. Prosun Bhattacharya from  KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Dr. Mattias Brömssen (Ramböll Sweden)  presented the underpinning scientific research on for the development of the Sediment  tools and its wider applicability in finding Arsenic safe water. Using the local drillers' perception of sediment color and experience of tubewell installation, a Sediment Color Tool is  developed together with local driller’s to identify As-safe aquifers in regions with high arsenic.   Nargis Akter from Unicef Bangladesh highlighted the Arsenic issues and challenges in Bangladesh, local drillers role, existing practices and Unicef various initiatives to be taken including educating local drillers and regularizing them through passbook services. She also explained, how GoB and Unicef are working together for mass scale Arsenic Mitigation is in progress following the new initiatives of Sida.  Tushar Sadhu Mohon Khan from GoB explained various DPHE projects and roadmap for facilitating newer Arsenic safer tubewells.  Sanjeev Sharma from ExcelDots, presented a documentary film on AI based fully digital sediments tool ASMITAS. ASMITAS has been evolved from SASMIT studies and has capability for scaling throughout the globe.  Prof.  Prosun Bhattacharya and Ms Nargis Akter concluded the sessions by providing the roadmap for effective Arsenic mitigation plan. They emphasize the uses of scientific tools, educating local drillers, adopting best practices for holistic safe water management. Speakers also answered some of important questions related to the removal of arsenic in groundwater, adoption and scalability of sediments tools in other part of the world. 

 The use of the tool will minimize the risk for high arsenic concentrations in the drinking water, bringing significant change to reduce As exposure and scale-up access to safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh and thus enabling to meet the target of the SDG 6 in drinking water sector. 

Recommendations   

  • Develop programs for adoption of the sediment color tool by local drillers through training.  The sediment clor tool should be distributed to all the local driller operating in different parts of Bangladesh as a measure to empower the local drillrs capacity for safe water provision.
  • Leverage the learning of arsenic mitigation research from Bangladesh to other different parts of the world.

New ongoing initiatives   

  • Adoption of SASMIT Sediment Color Tool to local drillers and ASMITAS - a digital version of the Sediment Color Tool will be operational in Bangladesh and study the impact of the tool in increasing the coverage of Arsenic safe tubewells. 
  • Strengthen capacity of local drillers, develop data base and establish registration and certification system.
  • Developing the new Arsenic Treatment to reach the MCL goals of 1 ug/L in drinking water. 

Resources