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Water Purification Project Pilot project for purification of any water source to safe drinking water

Clean drinkable water is one of the most essential elements of life. The Mekong River runs almost the entire length of Laos and is fed by countless tributaries and streams. Yet paradoxically, Laos is one of the countries where access to safe drinking water is extremely difficult.

Although most of the 6.6 million population live within sight of some natural body of water, none of that water is drinkable. There currently are no strict regulations on the treatment of waste water, hence the river waters are continuously contaminated with biological and industrial waste. As the town of Luang Prabang becomes ever more popular as a tourist destination, the waters of the two surrounding rivers are becoming more polluted thereby denying local communities safe drinking water. Working in partnership with the Buddhist Heritage Project and the ERM Foundation, Badur Foundation’s objective was to introduce a pilot project for a relatively simple, inexpensive and replicable purification system to convert biologically contaminated water from any source into safe drinking water. The starting point for the project was an analysis of various sources of raw-water to establish which water sources were suitable for use. The results showed that the Mekong River at Luang Prabang, its tributaries and various natural streams were suitable sources for the purification.

After some rigorous testing of alternative purification techniques, the final system was developed with two purification stages: the first being a sand and gravel filter followed by a UV-lamp tube treatment. The system can be also equipped with a simple solar panel which runs the UV lamp in rural areas without grid electricity. The final test results indicated that the produced water was safe to drink and complied with local and World Health Organisation guidelines.

There are currently eight compact water purification systems in operation in the Luang Prabang area. Ongoing monitoring since early 2014 (as the first system became fully operational) of the purified water ensures the purification system is working properly. Furthermore, through ongoing monitoring we are able to gain important information about operation and maintenance of the system and to work closely with locals to exchange experiences.

Badur Foundation, together with the Buddhist Heritage Project, installed three new water-purification systems with higher capacities at the Vat Pha Pa O site in 2016, where a Buddhist school with more than 500 pupils and teachers are using the purification system.

Our system provides clean and safe potable water from local raw-water sources and purifies water inexpensively, saving the community in Luang Prabang money, as well as reducing significantly the amount of waste and CO2 emissions

The need for inexpensive and easy-to-operate and maintain water purification systems is huge in rural areas. If you would like to to receive any further detail about the system or be involved, the trustees of the Badur Foundation would be delighted to hear from you. If you would like to make what will be a most gratefully received donation, you can do so via this webpage and we encourage you to contact us directly to let us know, so that we may acknowledge receipt.

Please click here to read more about other elements of The Buddhist Heritage Project supported by Badur Foundation.

Please click here to read a presentation that provides background information on the development of the water purification system in Luang Prabang. A number of videos showing the development of the project is available here.