Participants of the BSF construction and installation workshop

Many communities are challenged with safe drinking water sources, and could worsen in the event of natural disasters such droughts and floods. To address such scenarios along with food security issues associated such hazards; we (NARI) have been promoting the use of a water bio-filtration technology to local communities across the country. Referred to as bio-sand filter (BSF), it is an adaptation of the traditional slow-sand filter, which has been used for community drinking water purification for over 200 years.

Due to increased interest by rural communities, a workshop was conducted from 17 – 21 May to build capacities of representatives of local partners of the European Union funded climate change resilient project that is being implemented in 11 coastal provinces. A total of 30 participants representing various organisations were in attendance: Pobuma LLG (Manus); Teptep, Almami, Astrolobe (Madang);  Wewak LLG; Kote LLG, Watut LLG, Selepet LLG (Morobe); Rigo Coast, Taipini (Central); Oriomo (Western); DPI Kerema (Gulf); and DPI Oro. This hand-on workshop was organised to allow participants learn the whole process of constructing, installing and the use and management of the BSF technology. The technology is simple to construct using local available materials and the initial cost is around K500.00 though this may vary depending on where the required materials are being sourced.

BSF has no mechanical parts and the gravity-fed system uses naturally found pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi), sand, and gravel to produce clean drinking water. BSF is a small structure about the size of a standard office water cooler and consists of a container (mould) made of concrete /plastic), filled with layers of specially selected and prepared sand and gravel. The technology has proven to be a highlight during a previous project, thus is being promoted in this project as it we realised that many communities have challenges with sourcing clean drinking water.

It is hoped that the participants trained would in turn share what they have learnt with members of their respective communities. Participants were happy and have expressed they have mastered the skills required and were confident to construct their own BSF on their return. Full visits and support would be provided by the project to ensure the technology is rolled out to as many households as possible across all project sites.