With the help of the Programme iCare group from Rotterdam University, we were able to install our own drinking water system.
Using Tulip Siphon Water filters, brought over by the team of 15 from the Netherlands, we filter the water that is collected from the community centre roof via gutters that the team installed. These enter large tanks that are then fed through the tulip filters into the water containers that can be used with our water cooler. Installed in August 2015, we have not had to buy water since.
Plans are set up for installing waste water treatment systems for the kitchen and bathrooms. Although SAE LAO has the biogas system for waste from the toilets, like all water systems in Lao, there are no sewage or waste water systems in place. This means that grey water from the sinks and showers enter into soak-aways and eventually into the water table. This is something that SAE LAO has wanted to address for some time.
With the help of members from the Global Village team from Australia’s University of New South Wales, we now have plans to install a biosand filter. This filter is made with simple, easy to obtain, natural materials, that can remove the majority of chemicals, oils and sugars from the water.
The filter is easy to maintain and low cost, so is a simple solution that will hopefully be adopted by other households in the community, as with the biogas system.
Currently our showers are electric and although electricity in Lao is hydroelectric, we would like to develop water heating systems that do not use electricity, but use solar energy. With the help of members from the Global Village team from Australia’s University of New South Wales, we now have plans to install a water heating system made from recycled materials.
Using recycled fluorescent light tubes in a simple wooden frame, painted black, the water passes through the tubes, collecting the suns energy. This will produce very hot water, that can be mixed with the cold water we already have entering the shower system, to provide water for the shower that can be adjusted in temperature. Considering the huge amount of solar gain in Lao, this will be a low cost, low impact and energy efficient way of providing heated water.