Team Blog
Welcome to the PROtector Team Blog. In this section of the site we take a look at all aspects of PROtector products and discuss the broader issues involved in bringing fresh, clean drinking water to people around the world. If you are considering a PROtector installation, then you may well find the answers to your questions and concerns tucked away amongst our musings. We will be adding new articles from time to time, so be sure to stop by again soon!

 


Treated Water on a Budget: How PROtectors are providing safe water that people can afford.
  Cost of Ownership
A single PROtector costs USD $24,900.00 + shipping from Minnesota, USA. Whilst this figure may seem a little on the higher side, it must be remembered that the machine is a community scale water treatment plant (not household), capable of purifying and disinfecting brackish water to a very high standard. Each unit is built to last at least 15 years in tough, inhospitable conditions – producing as much as 12,000 litres over a 12 hour period. There is no solar equipment or wind turbine to maintain, no batteries or electrical circuitry, nor is there any need for fuel or mains electricity in its operation.

The consumables within the PROtector are selected according to the type and quality of 'raw' water to be treated. As the schedule for replacement of these components depends upon the quality of the source water being treated, we have broken this into two categories: Well water and surface water; with well water being the least polluted and surface water being the most. As a guideline, we estimate that the cost of maintaining a PROtector will be the following:
  • Well water application (Low turbidity and organic content) = USD $1,682 per year
  • Surface water application (High turbidity and organic content) = USD $3,364 per year
These costs are based upon the cost of servicing and the price of the filters and membranes: Replacing the filters and membranes every two years for a well water application; and every six months for a surface water application. It should be noted that these are conservative estimates and we would expect actual maintenance costs to be less.

The ‘cost of ownership’ is defined as the annual cost of maintenance plus the annual cost of financing the capital outlay to buy and install the PROtector. Taking a working lifespan of 15 years, the annual cost of financing a unit spread over this term works out at USD $2,607. Therefore, the cost of ownership is as follows:
  • Well water application = USD $4,289 per year
  • Surface water application = USD $5,971 per year
Cost of Treated Water
To put the cost of ownership in perspective, the cost of treated water per litre needs to be calculated. If we assume a rather conservative treated water output of 7,500 litres per day (750 litres per hour over a 10 hour period), this is equivalent to 2,737,500 litres per year. The cost of treated water is therefore the annual cost of ownership / 2,737,500 litres:
  • Well water application = 0.15 USD cent/litre (USD $0.03¢ per 20 litre jerry can)
  • Surface water application = 0.20 USD cent/litre (USD $0.04¢ per 20 litre jerry can)
We decided to compare these costs to that of other ‘fresh’ water sources in Kenya. The chart below shows a comparison between the cost of treated water produced by the PROtector system, and that of other sources, per 20 litre (5.28 gal) ‘jerry’ can. Please note that 20 litres will provide enough drinking and cooking water for an average sized African family each day.


        Data used for comparison:
            - 20 litres of water from private vendors in Nairobi = $0.17 (Source – UNEP / USAID)
            - 20 litres of water from private vendors in Turkana = $0.25 (Source – Oxfam GB)
            - 20 litres of water treated by “PUR” sachet = $0.10 (Source - http://www.safewaterintl.org)

Please note that commercially available bottled water may also be regarded as an alternative safe water source. However, 20 litres will cost a staggering $52.00 (Source - Nakumatt), which is far too high to feature on our comparison chart!.

Affordability by the Community
The following table outlines the cost of the PROtector relative to each family served, for a ‘well water’ application identical to that of the pilot installation in Turkana:

Capital Cost of PROtector
(Including commissioning)
USD $39,100.00
Annual Cost of Ownership*
(Well water application)
USD $4,289.00
Population Served 1,500
No. of Families Served
(Assuming four people per family)
375
Monthly Cost Per Family Served USD $0.95

*Cost of ownership includes annual maintenance plus capital cost paid back over 15 years

The average Turkana family can only afford USD $2 per month for their drinking water (source: Oxfam 2009). At USD $0.95 per month, the water produced by the PROtector is therefore affordable by the community.

Cost Comparison with Other Technologies
In order to further scrutinise the cost of the PROtector, we can make comparisons with other water treatment technologies that have been designed or adapted for use in poor, rural communities. The following section gives a brief overview of several other technologies:

Solar Stills
The solar still is a relatively basic system, utilising the principal of solar distillation. A shallow basin is used to contain the contaminated, saline water and is covered with a sloping glass roof. The sun’s rays penetrate the glass and heat the water below, causing water vapour to rise. The vapour cools down and condenses on the underside of the glass, where it trickles down to a gutter for collection. The ‘yield’ of pure distillate (treated water) ranges between 2 – 3 l/m2/day, meaning that the space required = 10m2 per family. (Longech, 375 families, would require 3,750m2). The capital cost for constructing solar stills = EUR €600 – 1,000 (USD $754 - $1,256) per family.

Data source: Lucille Groult, Cranfield University, 2009

WaterMill
The WaterMill is an electrically powered device that creates drinking water by extracting moisture from the air (through dehumidifying), and sterilising the collected distillate. One unit produces 12 litres of treated water per day. Commercially available units retail at USD $1,200, although a simplified model for use in the developing world is priced in the region of USD $300. The cost of treated water is in the region of USD $0.03 – $0.04 per litre.

Data source: “The machine creating water out of thin air”, by Grace Wong, CNN and “Pure water without mains”, by Techstar, November 24th 2008.

PUR Water Treatment Sachets
PUR “Purifier of Water” is both a flocculant and disinfectant that can separate particles and organisms from the water and kill microbes. After administering the powder, shaking and waiting 30mins, the water is then filtered through a cloth to remove the debris. PUR is supplied in powdered form, containing ferric sulphate and calcium hypochlorite. It is delivered in small sachets which are priced at USD $0.05 each. One sachet treats 10 litres of water.

Data source: http://www.safewaterintl.org/clearinghouse/chemical/pur/pur-purifier.html

The following table summarises the costs of these technologies, and notes which water contaminants are removed in each case. The costs have been scaled up proportionately to cater for a population of 1500 (375 families), so as to make for a proper comparison with the pilot PROtector. Also, the cost per 20 litres is based upon the maintenance of the system only, and not the capital cost.

Category PROtector Solar Still WaterMill PUR Sachet
Capital Cost (USD) $39,100 $375,000 $1,875,000 N/A
Cost per 20 litres $0.02 N/A $0.70 $0.10
Electrical Power Not Required Not Required Required Not Required
Silt & Dust Removed Removed Removed Removed
Cysts Removed Removed Removed Removed
Bacteria Removed Removed Removed Removed
Viruses Removed Removed Removed Removed
Heavy Metals Removed Removed Removed Not Removed
Fluoride Removed Removed Removed Not Removed
Arsenic Removed Removed Removed Removed
Brackishness Removed Removed Removed Not Removed

In conclusion, it is quite apparent that the installation of a PROtector treatment system is a very affordable and viable means of providing safe, clean water for the poorest of communities.

 
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Downloads

Don't have time to find out more about the PROtector online? Grab a copy of our PDF documents and read them on the go!

PROtector Brochure

A general overview of the PROtector hand-powered water treatment system and what it is capable of.

Program Proposal

An example PROtector program proposal. This document is annotated with instructions on how to create a proposal for your PROtector program. An editable Microsoft Word version is also available.

Pilot Program Six Month Progress Report

Catch up on the latest from the PROtector pilot installation in Longech, Kenya in this exciting report.

PROtector Prgram Management White Paper

A guide aimed at helping organizations to establish a successful protector program. This white paper contains procedures for system monitoring, maintenance, reporting, troubleshooting and repair.

To download the above PDF's, right click on the file and select "save as".