Clean Water Production for Isolated Areas

Clean Water Production for Isolated Areas

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2645-3.ch007
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The provision of clean water is a global concern that must be critically addressed by all government bodies. However, lack of attention to this matter presents difficulties to many rural regions, especially in the developing countries. Most rural regions around the world experience lack of clean water due to various factors such as shortage of water resources and lack of water treatment facilities due to geographical constraint and scatter of population. Thus, small-scale water treatment system is an attractive technology for clean water production in isolated areas as it only requires a small footprint and it is more cost-effective than conventional water treatment plants. This chapter focuses on the small-scale water treatment systems for each of surface water, groundwater, rainwater, and brackish water resources. Considerations are taken based on the type of water resources and geographical conditions of the rural areas which include flat grounds, hills, and island areas. Besides, rainwater harvesting and treatment is reviewed for individual house application.
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With a land area of 73,619 km2, which is divided into 23 districts, Sabah is sparsely populated. The rural and remote areas in Sabah are focused at the central region of the state, such as at the districts of Keningau, Tambunan, Ranau, Beluran, Nabawan, Tenom, and Tongod, and also at the islands, for example, the Banggi Island, and Mabul Island. The major economic activities in these areas are agriculture and eco-tourism. Due to this, a large quantity of water is required to fuel the socio-economic activities which are the backbones of trade and industry in these regions. Table 1 shows some general comparison of the major water sources in Sabah rural areas. The major issue identified is the needs of a water treatment facility that is crucial to ensure that the water is free from contaminants and bacteria so that it is safe for consumption.

Table 1.
A general comparison between the water sources in Sabah rural areas
Surface WaterGroundwaterRainwater
Water scarcity during drought; contains suspended solids and microbesThe necessity of a deep-dug well for groundwater collecting; contains odour, colour, and microbesInconsistent supply especially during drought; water may be contaminated from atmospheric pollutants
Only accounts for ~10% of freshwater availabilitya Accounts for ~90% of freshwater availabilityThe average rainfall of 3,000 mm annually

Source: a (Mishra & Dubey, 2015)

The rural areas of Sabah are highly associated with scattered low-density population due to its geographical condition that is mountainous and hilly, densely forested and steep hilly terrain. Large distance between populated areas combined with hilly terrains makes the development of a water supply network system a highly costly project. Hilly terrain requires longer pipelines and even greater pumping energy requirement. Even though the areas are rich in water resources, without a proper water treatment system, the populations in the majority of the rural regions have a lack or no access to treated water. The rural communities are mainly dependent on the rainwater harvesting and surface water supplied via gravity pipe as their major water resources. Part of the communities also uses groundwater from hand-dug well for their everyday usage without proper treatment. Thus, there is a need for the building of groundwork for water treatment that can provide the locals with sufficiently clean water in order to allow them to obtain the basic necessity that is potable water.

Hence, the suitable treatments will be discussed in the subsequent sections which cover the rainwater, surface water and groundwater which has been initially identified as the major water resources available. Yet, several systems are discussed that is practical for each type of water resources since not all rural areas will have all three resources in abundance and a single treatment system may not be suitable for all type of water resources. The main focus of the water system for rural areas would be small scale water treatment system that can combat the issues associated as previously discussed. Below are some typical examples of areas in Sabah associated with clean water problems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Small Scale Water Treatment System: System that treats and distributes water near its points of a generation where the piping system involved are comparatively shorter.

Surface Water: Freshwater that is found on the earth's surface such as rivers, ponds, and lakes.

Island: A land that is entirely surrounded by water but smaller than a continent.

Rainwater: Water that is collected from fallen rain.

Physicochemical Characteristics of Water: Properties of water that covers both the physical and chemical parameters.

Groundwater: Water found beneath the earth’s surface which is stored inside spaces and cracks in soil, rock and sand.

Brackish Water: Water that contains salinity between that of freshwater and seawater.

Hilly Area: Area with many hills or elevation of lands.

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