24 Urban Age, Winter 1999

Clean drinking water is in short supply in many cities. Water production cannot keep pace with the demands of burgeoning populations, and residents are forced to rely in part on rainwater and wells. Old or deteriorated water networks frequently result in burst pipes and leaks. 
Repairs can take years. Bottled water is popular, but the poor cannot afford it. Might not the solution be small water treatment plants installed all around a city?

Enter the water treatment kiosk, a device designed to be installed in hospitals, schools, bus stations, places of worship and other locations that provides good quality drinking water to the various consumers. The treatment kiosk avoids contamination from the distribution system by treating water at the point of consumption. It can combat excessive iron concentrations or salinity in well water and eliminates the need for expensive bottled water. The kiosks, sold by Aqua Technique in Paris, are compact, container sized and can be connected immediately to local networks or bore holes. They are autonomous, equipped with their own power generator for use in case of power failure. They use an advanced technology ultra-filtration and include, as options, iron removal and desalination units. The kiosk's dimensions are 6.1 x 2.5 x 2.6 meters, and its weight (without the ultra-filtration unit) is 4000 kilograms. A seven-meter container can be converted into a water treatment kiosk. Kiosks consist of two separate compartments accessible by double doors at each end. The walls are insulated and soundproof.

Aqua Technique touts decentralized water treatment as having two advantages. One, both the installation and maintenance of kiosks can be self-financing with the sup-port of local water traders operating as franchises to collect income. Two, the number of kiosks can be increased over time.

24 Urban Age winter1999