Our Approach

Teach. Test. Treat.

Teach. Test. Treat.

The Bright Water Foundation Changes behavior by Teaching safe water principles, Testing household water to demonstrate the need for treatment, and reinforcing safe water Treatment and storage in the home.


Bright Water Foundation provides an easy to understand workshop that teaches important information about how contaminated water makes one sick and how to eliminate the germs that cause waterborne disease.

Water samples are taken by BWF community volunteers from household water supplies. These community-based trainers then guide participants through demonstrations of testing their own water.

Seeing is believing. And community trainers then teach safe water principles of treating and safely storing family water supplies, and basic sanitation.


Bright Water Foundation promotes use of the Portable Microbiology Laboratory (PML), which is simply a test tube with a pre-mixed chemical to detect harmful bacteria and a cardboard Petri dish to incubate colonies of the bad germs.

The PML includes 25 each of Colilert and Petrifilm tests that fit inside a gallon-size zip lock plastic bag, Whirl-Paks to collect water samples, sterile plastic pipettes, a spreader and a battery-operated long-wave UV light for the Colilert test.

Just add water and incubate. All tests can be incubated at body temperature and the results obtained overnight.

Results provide a disease risk assessment of water sources that correlate with the World Health Organization’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality

A simple and effective water testing kit that can be used at the community level in developing countries to test water sources for the potential risk of disease.

Developed by Professor Bob Metcalf, California State University, Sacramento the PML contains two scientifically vetted tests for the fecal indicator bacterium Escherichia coli (E-coli) in water and food.

The Colilert® tests for the presence/absence of Coliform and E-coli bacteria (IDEXX, Westbrook, ME) and the PetrifilmTM (3M, St. Paul, MN), provides a quantitative test as to the amount of contamination present.


Bright Water Foundation demonstrates practical household water treatment using chlorine or solar pasteurization to kill the germs and make water safe to drink and then storing water safely.

Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment of water with chlorine based products to kill harmful bacteria and viruses associated with water borne diseases are effective. They are locally available in most areas. Household bleach is excellent for treatment household water, and is quite affordable.

Heat Treatment

While it has been a traditional practice to boil water to make it safe, it is not necessary to heat water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius. If water is heated to the pasteurization temperature of 149°F 65°C, microbes associated with water borne diseases including diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, rotavirus, polio virus, hepatitis A, giardia and E-coli will be killed.

By heating water to this lower temperature, water is made safe and fuel is saved as is the time required to find it. This is significant as women in many countries spend 4-6 hours three times a week searching for fuel. The potential impact of pasteurization on the environment is also significant as it is estimated that two billion people, or one third of the world’s population still cook over open fires that require natural resources, such as trees.

The reusable Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) is a simple, low cost device containing a special wax that melts and drops to the bottom when water reaches pasteurization temperature. WAPIs can save both time and fuel.

Safe Water and Storage

Safe storage containers for household use can significantly reduce contamination and the risk of diarrheal disease. One of the considerations after treatment of water is to store it safely so that it is not re-contaminated.

It is BWF’s belief that sanitation and hygiene should be taught at the same time as water treatment. A container with a small opening at the top allows the container to be refilled but is of such a small size that a person cannot reach into the container with a cup or glass to possibly contaminate the clean water. A spigot at the bottom allows water to be used without it being contaminated. Clay storage containers can also be made locally.