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UIC: Gates Foundation Funds UIC Solar-powered Water Treatment Project in Kenya

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will enable the expansion and testing of a clean drinking water system in two informal urban settlements located in Kisumu, a city of 500,000 people in Kenya. Dr. Samuel Dorevitch, associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, is the principal investigator on the grant.

The water disinfection system uses solar power to produce ozone gas. The gas is then bubbled through water collected from natural or municipal sources to kill germs and make the water safe for drinking. Dr. Dorevitch and colleagues have already installed small versions of the system in ten homes in Kisumu’s Kisian Village, where it can disinfect about 40 liters of water a day.

The new grant money will enable the installation of much larger systems in Kisumu that can process up to 5,000 liters of water each day for community use.

Dr. Dorevitch will compare two ways of deploying the larger system in two informal settlements in Kisumu: in one settlement, a community water cooperative will manage the system and coordinate water distribution.  In another informal settlement, the system will be managed and distribution will be handled by water vendors.

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