GNF - Drinking Water for rural Regions in Colombia

Pilot Project: Drinking Water in rural Regions in Colombia


Article, EverythingAboutWater, April 2017

New Technologies for safe Drinking Water in Colombia

(by Aude Gago)

Indepth - Community Drinking Water

Initial situation in San Miguel de Sema

in December 2015, the community has a simple basic supply of electricity and water. The former water supply system consisted of a sampling station, a sedimentation basin, a drop tower and two tanks with a capacity of each 10,000 litres. The water in the regions contains iron oxides and pyrite. So far there was no disinfection, therefore pathogenic contamination occurred.


Improvements by a suitable filtration technology

The installation of a multi-stage water purification system based on an electrolysis with a minimum capacity of 5,000 litres per day now ensures clean water. The system reliably removes all pathogens such as E-coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and legionella from the water without the use of any chemical substances. The plant is characterized by a low energy consumption (800 W) and a user-friendly monitoring and maintenance system. Approximately 500 people, inhabitants and pupils, directly benefit from the clean water the treatment plant provides.


Project objectives

The pilot project aims at installing a simple but reliable filtration technology for providing clean drinking water for people in rural areas of Colombia. The experiences from the pilot project are used to prepare a larger drinking water project application in Colombia to be proposed to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Background information

Studies of the UN (MDG Report 2014 and UNESCO Water for a Sustainable World 2015 Report) indicate that despite some progress in this area still around 748 million people worldwide depend on water withdrawals from polluted sources.


The municipality of San Miguel de Sema is located in a rural region north of the capital Bogotá. The target groups are some 30 households (about 250 people), a primary school, a secondary school (200 pupils) and a church. The average income in this region is very low. Longer periods of droughts result in a lack of water in the region. In 2013, the Fundación Humedales and GNF realised a Green Filter project for the purification of municipal waste water in San Miguel. In 2015, this project received an environmental award in Colombia. 

 Transport of the filtration plant in situ in San Miguel de Sema
 The filtration unit and the storage tanks
 The multi-stage filtration unit
 Inhabitants and the project team in front of the filtration plant in San Miguel de Sema.


 Wilo Foundation

Project period:


Project countries:




Project partners:

December 2015 - November 2016




Wilo-Foundation, Foundation Ursula Merz


Implementation: Fundación Humedales, Colombia
Technology Partner: Arisu GmbH, Germany