The need for innovative solutions in the SADC region is immense. The impacts of inadequate research and development are evident across the region through the limited innovations that are adapted for practice and use. IWSD’s research activities aim to contribute to research in the water supply, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as the water resources development and management thematic focus areas. Some of the research initiatives undertaken by IWSD are summarised below.

1. Research Into Sludge Enterprise (RISE)
The Research Into Sludge Enterprise (RISE) project is a research that seeks to investigate the feasibility of mobile desludging in small towns of Zimbabwe using a prototype mobile desludging unit (MDU) developed by WASTE-Malawi. The MDU created a viable faecal desludging business in Malawi and improved sanitation services. RISE project therefore intends to upscale this to Zimbabwe so that the same benefits can be realized especially in small towns were the mobile desludging services are scarce and expensive.

2. Bio Sand Filtration Research in Peri-Urban Areas
This study has been completed, and the major findings from the study were that results from bio-sand filtered water indicated a general decrease in the number of coliforms as compared to the source water. However the removal rates varied from house to house and from different sources. The results demonstrated that bio sand filters were capable of removing microorganisms with an efficiency ranging from 41% to 99% for E.coli. The average removal efficiency for all the sampled water sources was 79%.

3. SODISWATER: Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water for Use in Developing Countries or in Emergency Situations
IWSD implemented this project in Harare’s peri-urban areas of Hatcliffe Extension and Hopley where the main objective was to assess the efficacy of solar disinfection in producing household water of acceptable microbiological quality and the health impact of such an intervention.
The aim of SODISWATER project was to prove that solar disinfection of drinking water is an effective intervention against waterborne diseases at household level and as emergency relief in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters.
SODIS proved completely effective against the pathogens responsible for cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio, salmonella and gastroenteritis. The only successful clinical trial to-date, showed that children under 5 years who used SODIS were 7-times less likely to contract cholera than children who had not.