Dockrell lends support to new water disinfection system

Mon, Feb 6, 2012 2:44 PM

The Ireland cricket team embarks this week on a tour of Kenya where they will be playing a series of important games against the hosts. They will be attempting to recapture the Intercontinental Cup and continue their excellent start in their quest to secure qualification for the 2015 World Cup.

However they won't be the only Irish team looking for results in the region this week. At Trinity College, a team led by PHD Engineering student Joanne McMahon has developed a system that uses Africa's most abundant resource, sunshine, to disinfect water.

This has the potential to be a revolutionary breakthrough, as tragically, across Africa, hundreds of thousands of people die every year from contaminated water, especially children under the age of five.

This system has already been used successfully in Ndulyani, a rural village in Kenya. The system used solar energy to disinfect water from a local river to provide a clean, reliable, safe water supply for 600 local villagers.

However, drought has caused the river to dry up, making the disinfection system unusable. As a result, women and children from Ndulyani now have to walk 7 km to the nearest water source and carry back 20-litre containers - and even this water is unsafe.

The challenge now for McMahon and her team is to get the project in Ndulyani back up and running - and that means finding a local source of water. Joanne has launched an appeal to raise funds (E22,000) to drill a borehole deep enough to tap the water table.
She is hoping to attract support from donors, including corporate sponsors, over the next four weeks.

Joanne says: "In Ireland, we turn on a tap for as much clean water as we want. When our athletes play in a climate like Kenya’s, they need even more water than usual to keep them hydrated. Unfortunately, over the last four years, Kenya has experienced devastating droughts that have made access to clean drinking water an ever-increasing struggle for thousands of people.

"The success of the project will give the 600 people in Ndulyani ready access to clean water once again. Importantly, it will also enable our system to be improved so that it can be used more widely in communities across the developing world. Contaminated drinking water kills over two million people annually - and this TCD project is an important part of the solution."

19 year old Ireland and Somerset left arm spinner George Dockrell is fully behind the campaign saying; "This is a fantastic technology developed by Joanne and her team at Trinity, and it's amazing to see how a natural resource that's in such abundance as sunlight can be used to disinfect water.

"Clean water is something that we take for granted in everyday life in Ireland and with the help of this technology more and more people would have clean water available to them. Due to the drought the water source has dried up but hopefully enough money can be raised to drill a borehole and get this brilliant technology providing clean water to the village of Ndulyani once again.

"I urge everyone to donate to this wonderful cause and help get this project up and running again."

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