I’m excited to announce that I will be joining the Swiss Bluetec Bridge Selection Committee! Swiss Bluetec Bridge is a platform developed by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) that provides financial contributions and know-how for improved drinking water around the world.
As a passionate ‘waterbug’, I have researched and developed projects that improve drinking water provision, and am really looking forward to putting my knowledge to use by selecting candidates to be supported by Swiss Bluetec Bridge. As the challenges attributed with drinking water are varied, the solutions are equally diverse: drinking water challenges can be different from village, to village and from city to city – and finding scalable solutions is difficult. Despite that, there are a number of success factors that can help ensure projects increase access to safe drinking water. Personally, I believe there are a number of success factors for projects seeking to improve water provision, including:
Tailored solutions: geography and existing water and sanitation systems can result in a range of differing drinking water problems (ie, bacterial contamination vs brackish water; or water access problems vs water provision problems). Solutions need to be developed with the specific problem in mind.
Locally embedded projects: Initiatives that have local support through relevant community organizations, are also able to build capacity and knowledge around safe drinking water. This is important because in many cases great projects struggle to deliver results because community awareness of the problems at hand prevent the technologies available to be used successfully.
Long term outlook: Many projects fail as a result of unstable technology, poor maintenance and lack of spare parts, therefore, I would like to see more projects that have strong mechanisms in place for ensuring project success in the long run. These can include appropriate use of business models, integration with social norms, government policy and financial support mechanisms.
Good storage and transportation: Many projects do not adequately account for good transportation and storage of water- leaky pipes, open containers and poor sanitation can result in contamination which prevents the project from reaching its full potential. I believe this is an area where a lot of innovation is still to come, through improved jerry cans, integrating chlorine dispensers and using modern pipe patching technologies.
Drinking water is an area that I am absolutely passionate about- and I am thrilled to be able to a part of the Swiss Bluetec Bridge initiative. I’d also like to take a moment to personally thank Paul Polak for his support of the initiative and role on the selection committee to date – I know he has done a lot of great work in this area, and I am gutted I won’t get the chance to work with him this time around. I know I will never be able to replace him on the committee, but I hope that my experience and passion will be a strong benefit to the committee. Most of all, I hope that as a selection committee we are able to identify and support excellent initiatives which will help improve drinking water around the world.