Chlorination is the most widely used method for treating water and ensuring it is safe to drink during humanitarian emergencies. If properly managed, it can provide protection against pathogenic contamination right up to the point of consumption in camp settings.
The water treatment guidelines currently used by humanitarian agencies are not based on any field evidence. This means that they often fail to ensure that water is safe when and where people actually drink it in camp settings.
While humanitarian agencies routinely collect, monitor, and report residual chlorination data, little is done to leverage this data to realize the full public health potential of safe water. This is a significant oversight in current humanitarian response efforts.
The Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT) unlocks life-saving information inside water quality data by deploying machine learning and advanced data analytics to generate site-specific, evidence-based chlorination targets - for any emergency field site. The SWOT helps field teams ensure that water remains safe to drink many hours after distribution from tapstands. The SWOT also helps fields teams better manage water quality by providing a means to centralize and analyze water quality monitoring data across multiple project sites.
The SWOT builds on years of engineering research led by MSF, York University, UNHCR, and University of California, Berkeley. Some of the foundational research for the SWOT can be found via the links below:
Image Credit: Syed Imran Ali/Measuring FRC at a tapstand, Gendrassa, Maban County, South Sudan (2013)