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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Environmental Engineering
Title Drinking-Water Quality Assessment and Treatment in East Timor: Case Study: Tangkae
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
URL http://www.education.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1637464/Michael_2007.pdf
This study entails an examination of the quality of drinking-water sources and a detailed assessment of
treatment options for the village of Tangkae, East Timor, with the objective to achieve three main aims.
The first aim of the study is to analyse cultural and local data in relation to the quality of water sources
and to investigate potential options to improve the community drinking-water. The second aim is to
conduct stakeholder analysis and assess the community’s current capacity to support stakeholder capacity
development. The third aim is to produce recommendations regarding appropriate behavioural and
technical options to improve the quality of water available in Tangkae. These recommendations will
provide the community with a guide to make informed decisions regarding improving their water supply
and their quality of life.
Headed by Engineers Without Borders (EWB), an Australian development non-governmental
organisation (NGO) this study contributes to the EWB Water and Sanitation East Timor Student Project.
A principal component of this project is building relations and exchanging information between
Australian and East Timorese institutions, including government, non-government and educational
organisations. In partnership with Hamoris Timor Oan, an East Timorese NGO, and six civil engineering
students at the National University of East Timor, this project aims to also build the strength and skills of
the wider East Timorese community through partnerships with these local institutions and individuals.
The village of Tangkae is representative of many rural communities in East Timor, the poorest nation in
Asia. With a population of two hundred and sixty four people the water sources in Tangkae used to
supply the village with water for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning are of difficult and distant
access and preliminary surveys indicate poor quality. Preliminary assessment found that microbial
contamination in conjunction with lack of protection of water sources, unsafe water storage habits and
poor hygiene and sanitation practices are likely contributors to the prevailing illnesses in the village.
Local conditions and cultural factors are addressed to ensure the most appropriate technology is presented
to the community during the subsequent consultation stage. Results from this study recommend multiple
barriers are implemented to ensure safe drinking-water, including improved behaviours in hygiene and
sanitation practices, use of safe water storage vessels and treatment of turbid and contaminated waters.
Technology assessment found Biosand or ceramic filtration and solar disinfection to be the most
appropriate treatment processes, on condition that further investigations are conducted regarding social
acceptability, material availability and costs.
This document details options to improve drinking-water that are available not only to the village of
Tangkae but also the wider East Timorese community.

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