Biosand Water Filters


The villagers of Jati in Sindh rely on open canals and ditches for their drinking water. The water can be very polluted especially after periods of heavy rainfall, and it has been linked to several diseases such as diarrhea and cholera in the community. ADP supported the installation of bio-sand filters for 100 families in the area. These innovative filters are based on a simple concept: stable layers of sand can both remove sediments, as well as provide a surface for the growth of microbes that remove harmful bacteria from dirty water. The filters are constructed entirely with local materials, and require little technical expertise for use or maintenance.

June 10, 2008: A group of ADP volunteers, along with AHD, are working in two villages namely Goth Somar Machhi and Goth Allah Rakhio Dhandhal in the Jeti Tehsil of Thatta. ADP is providing USD 2,200 to install nadi filters (bio-sand filters) for clean water, Fuel Efficient Stoves for smoke-free kitchens, Kitchen Garden Kits to make acquiring daily use vegetables cheaper and more convenient for 60 families. Along with this, CBOs (Community Based Organization) will be set up for the purpose of training and close coordination within the villagers to address their issues in an organized and effective manner.

Key Metrics

  • Water samples
  • Follow-up survey to assess villager satisfaction


Association for Humanitarian Development (AHD) is a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of villagers in Sindh. They believe in an environmentally friendly and holistic approach to development, and have promoted the use of organic insecticides, set up community-based organizations, providing adult literacy services, installed fuel-efficient stoves and water filters. AHD has a staff of 14 and a volunteer base of over 50. They have implemented projects for the World Wildlife Federation and Trees for the Future.


Q. Do Bio-Sand filters work? A. The bio-sand filters are an adaptation of slow sand filters developed in the West, and have been tested by various government, research, and health institutions across the world. Studies have shown that the filters can remove:

• More than 90% of fecal coliform

• 100% of protozoa and helminths

• 50-90% of organic and inorganic toxicants

• 95-99% of zinc, copper, cadmium and lead

• < 67% of iron and manganese

• <47% of arsenic

• All suspended sediments

For more information, please visit the website of the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) in Canada.

Q. What is the cost of a filter? A. The average cost of an installed filter was $12, and it can provide clean drinking water to an entire family for up to five years. The budget includes simple materials such as a clay pot, pipes, sand and meshes, as well as transportation and wages for a trainer. Since there is no synthetic filtration material, maintenance involves removing the sand and washing it periodically.

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Type: Project