Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Friday, October 21, 2011

Water purification during the floods

The flood situation in Cambodia is not getting better, and does not look like it is going to go away soon. Ironically in the midst of this water, people are desperately in need of good drinking water. Regular open wells have been over-run, heavily contaminated and are next to useless. Water purifier tablets are unavailable, and even if available are too expensive for regular use of the families in the villages.

For those reading in Cambodia, here is an option that can be used. Water can be disinfected using household bleach. I am not sure how available this is in the villages, but it will definitely be more accessible than commercial water purifier tablets.

1. Get hold of standard simple household bleach. Non-perfumed. Not the specialty types. It should say approximately 5-6%.

2. Filter the water source. Can just use a double layer of the Cambodian krama. This is just to get rid of as much mud, sand and debris as possible.

3. Disinfect the water using the bleach. The amount of bleach used is approximately a quarter of a teaspoon for about 4 litres of water. This should be approximately a standard 10 -12 inch diameter pail filled to about 10-12 inches high. Stir the water well and let it stand for about 30 minutes. There should be a bit of the chlorine smell, but not too strong. If too much chlorine smell can just agitate the water by pouring pail-to-pail. After a while it should be ready to drink.

This is a very crude process, so don't expect any accuracy here in generating the correct concentration of chlorine. The bleach is relatively safe and non-poisonous when used this way. The important thing is that it is an accessible, affordable, low tech way of obtaining reasonably disinfected water for daily needs.