Student Project: In Search of Clean Water

In Monwabisi Park, an informal settlement outside Cape Town, South Africa, 20,000 people have limited access to clean drinking water, toilets, showers, and drainage. Poor sanitation takes the lives of hundreds of residents there each year.

Marcella C. Granfone ’10, Christopher R. Lizewski ’10, and Daniel J. Olecki ’10 hope to decrease that number significantly. As part of their student project, which won the 2009 WPI President’s IQP Award, they designed and developed a communal water facility to help reduce the spread of waterborne diseases. Following the principles of sustainable development, the students designed a cost-effective model facility that can provide clean water, showers, toilets, and other facilities to 60 people in a manner that improves sanitation, discourages vandalism, and protects the environment. The students, who worked with the city of Cape Town Water and Sanitation Department, developed their design after interviews with community members and city officials and extensive field observations.

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