Drinking Water Manual 101 - link to the ebook!

We recently published our lovely Drinking Water Manual 101. Here´s the story:

This manual seeks to provide basic outlines and impulses to social designers and entrepreneurs working on developing projects for safe and clean drinking water. It is a collection of basic instructions when dealing with different types of water, climate and geology and broken down into the four main processes to achieve clean and safe drinking water: Collection, Storage, Filtration, Neutralisation (in order).

Not all of these processes are always needed, but they are separate and can be combined to best suit the needs of the individuals or communities addressed, as well as the types of source water available.

This manual should be considered as a stepping stone in the right direction to inform the design. In-depth research on the chosen methods is needed to fully understand the possibilities and limitations of each of these. We also conceived it to be a reference manual.

The content is divided into three sections: Chapter 1 is an Introduction with considerations to take into account when given the task of developing drinking water projects;  Chapter 2 Methods is broken down into 4 sections - collection, storage, filtration, neutralization, with bullet-points and illustrations to describe the pros and cons of each sub category. Chapter 3 includes a list of identified and successfully implemented drinking water projects in development regions, as well as readily available projects when confronted with a humanitarian crisis.

The Story behind the Drinking Water Manual 101


AT the start of 2012 we embarked on a social design project we named THIRST, to address issues of clean and safe drinking water in energy autarky regions of Nepal and similar geographies.

We´d planned a time to research in-depth about drinking water to know about it´s technicalities, and then go and research on-site with our local partner NGO The Small World who operate in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal to gain invaluable socio-cultural insights that would inform our design.

Here we want to share the results of our theoretical research, in the form of our book/pdf “Drinking Water Manual 101”

Research in Theory

Almost from the word GO we realized how incoherent and lengthy the theoretical research was. We understood how far away from a simple glass of water a project of this scope is, and how holistic our understanding of water has to be – from clean and safe drinking water, to sanitation, to religion and spirituality, to gender to smart water systems.

We spoke to experts from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, gathered stories from designers who had worked in, succeeded/failed at implementing social design projects, interviewed ethnologists, engineers, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs. We read books and watched documentaries and downloaded documents from the internet.

We decided that we could have shortened our research time if we had found that one coherent document that is “designer-friendly” : a book that designers could understand; one with lots of pretty graphics and comparable informative bullet points; a starting point that could inform us of all the methods to make clean and safe drinking water...We didn´t find that book, so we made it ourselves.

Making Research Available 

We work in the field of social design, which we understand as a transparent practice. Which is why we want to put together our research into a coherent document for others to use. Hopefully it will speed up the process of the next project dealing with drinking water and help make more meaningful and sustainable efforts in the field of Social Design and clean and safe drinking water.

we´d like to give a special shout out to Lena Gold for her fantastic work on the graphic and layout of this manual.