An evaluation of water urns to maintain domestic water quality

Unprotected shallow wells have been used for centuries as a source of domestic water in Africa. In Zimbabwe and many other African countries such wells are still an important and perhaps, the only source of water for some settlements. However, groundwater abstracted from shallow unprotected wells is susceptible to external contamination from surface runoff, wind blown debris and unsanitary water extracting mechanisms (Barrel and Rowland 1979). Previous studies undertaken in Zimbabwe have shown that well upgrading results in considerable improvement in water quality (Morgan 1989 and unpublished work by Rukure and Chihota 1995). The upgrading process usually entails providing a well lining, windlass and supports, a well cover, a lid and a drainage apron. Despite these improvements to family wells and to family well water, commonly practised methods of domestic water collection, transportation, storage and distribution in the home often expose water to faecal contamination (EI Attar and Khairy 1982). Thus, negating the positive public health impact of the upgraded well. A water urn was designed to interrupt the cycle of contamination of household water. This report gives design details and discusses the laboratory and field studies undertaken to evaluate the device.