Purifying water to improve health and save money

Harka Bahadur Ghimire holding a glass of filtered water. Photo by: Oxfam

Harka Bahadur Ghimire holding a glass of filtered water. Photo by: Oxfam

“Our already poor financial condition was getting worse as we had to spend more on medicines to cure the water borne diseases."
Goma Ghimire

Kumud Sharma

There was a time when Goma Ghimire (59) and her family of ten members had to drink unfiltered tap water and later suffer from diarrhea, allergy and water borne rashes. Ghimire is a resident of Kholadil, Lamatar, one of the peri-urban areas of the capital city who was affected by the 2015 earthquake. She lost her house and was left to compromise with unsecure shelter, drinking water access, and sanitation services.

As a part of Oxfam’s initiative to promote health and sanitation by supporting people in need with the equipments and methods to purify drinking water, Ghimire got to install a water filter for the first time in her life—a bio sand filter (BSF). Bio sand filter is a simple household water treatment option capable or removing, microorganism, turbidity, iron and odor. Water is filtered though simple layer of sand and gravel, where most of the filtration occurs at biofilm layer.

As clean drinking water is now available for Goma’s family, she hopes that she wouldn’t need to spend money on medication to cure the water-borne ailments. “Our already poor financial condition was getting worse as we had to spend more on medicines to cure the water borne diseases,” says Goma who grows tomatoes in a poly house. “But I now hope that I will be able to save some money.”

Oxfam and its partner ENPHO (Environment and Public Health Organization) have installed bio sand filters in the entire 58 households of Kholadil. “It’s very easy to use this filter and serves our need,” says Hari Prasad Chaulagai, another beneficiary from the area. A plastic bio sand filter of 50-liter capacity can filter 15-20 liters of water per hour, which is sufficient even for large family.

ENPHO has been advocating on BSF filter use at more than 19 districts, where 27 trained individuals have been actively involved in its production through business. Apart from Nepal, more than 60 developing countries have been using bio sand filter for household water treatment and use.