Case Study

The AguaClara Drinking Water Treatment Program Delivered in the Republic of Honduras

January 15, 2019

The Honduran AguaClara Program has been developing next generation drinking water treatment technologies to deliver safe water and meet the essential need of individuals and families in towns and cities since 2005. Over a period of 14 years, through implementation of a process of innovation, Cornell University has continually improved both its treatment processes and project management methodologies to support acceleration of the program and potential scale-up of activities across other areas of the world. Through public involvement, the program today ensures safe water, appropriate pricing for low-income residents, and the management of water supply and demand on a sustainable basis in support of the good health and productivity of the community.

AguaClara is proven drinking water treatment technology that is cost effective and suitable for use in any village, town or small city. After successfully demonstrating the ability to transfer this technology to Honduras through a 2005 pilot demonstration project, the AguaClara Program in Honduras is today being delivered as a national initiative on a community-demand basis. This overview of the Honduran AguaClara Program presents background information on the importance of water for life, introduces the program and technologies in use, and discusses the benefits and costs to be realized through the provision of adequate water infrastructure and services to promote human health and productivity growth.

The Honduran AguaClara Program is a partnership between Cornell University AguaClara Innovation Laboratory and the National Water and Sewerage Utility (SANAA), Honduran civil society, and select international development partners. Eighteen water treatment facilities that do not require electricity and have minimal maintenance requirements have been successfully installed to date. These facilities continue to provide safe, clean drinking water to low-income communities ranging in size from 170 to 12,000 persons. A new facility designed to serve 40,000 people will be commissioned in June 2019.


The sustainability of the AguaClara Program is evident. Members of each beneficiary community continue to operate, maintain and manage the simple-to-operate treatment facilities, built completely of locally-sourced materials. Each month, each household in these low-income communities demonstrates both a willingness to pay and the ability to afford the low cost of water tariffs.

Today, the AguaClara Program may be the best-kept secret of the water and economic development practitioner communities. This Case Study for potential client and partner organizations highlights the performance of three drinking water treatment facilities. These each required the Honduran AguaClara Program to tackle different technical challenges and propose effective solutions for delivering real results in closing the water security gap in the Republic of Honduras.

The AguaClara Program is now being implemented in other countries through partnerships formed by AguaClara Reach, a non-profit organization established to facilitate universal access to safe water on tap.

Full Study Honduran AguaClara Program - Case Study - January 2019

Latest Press Release

AguaClara Hydrodoser Brings Clean Water to 206 People in Odisha

July 15, 2018: Keonjhar, Odisha, India

Today, the community of Lahanda in Keonjhar, Odisha in India commissioned a water system delivering safe drinking water on tap to 206 residents. The community is treating the water using an invention called the Hydrodoser, developed by New York State nonprofit AguaClara Reach. The Hydrodoser is a gravity-based, sensor-and-pump-free technology that delivers an accurate amount of chlorine to disinfect water, making it safe for human consumption. The simple yet sophisticated technology is making it a viable drinking water treatment option for remote communities that cannot afford conventional, electric-powered water treatment.

The Hydrodoser automatically turns on and off with the water supply, and is made from inexpensive materials including PVC pipes and sheets, flexible tubes, and HDPE drums. “The use of off-the-shelf materials is critical,” says AguaClara Reach Executive Director, Maysoon Sharif. “It ensures that the community can inexpensively and easily replace parts on their own in the future.” For a monthly cost of $1 per household, each community member will receive 70 liters of water per day. This is sufficient to provide safe drinking water for all household needs, including cooking, brushing teeth, and bathing.

AguaClara Reach provides safe drinking water technology and training, working with local partners in the field to implement solutions.  In India they worked with local NGO Gram Vikas to fabricate the Hydrodoser. In Lahanda, each household also built a bathroom, including a toilet with running water, and tap stand for other household purposes. Many households have also opted to construct a shower room. These additional facilities help ensure that the entire village will be able to tend to all of their hygienic needs.

The inspiration for the Hydrodoser came from over two years of experience implementing AguaClara technologies in the state of Jharkhand. In 2013, AguaClara Reach – then AguaClara LLC, a social enterprise spun out of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and winner of Best for the World Overall in 2015 and 2017 – spearheaded the deployment of its Enclosed Stacked Rapid Sand (EStaRS) Filters in two villages in the state. The EStarS Filters were meant to be simple enough for local operators to run, while wasting 80% less water and requiring 80% less area to build than the conventional rapid sand filter. An early version of the Hydrodoser was installed alongside the EStarS Filters and also as a stand-alone unit in two other villages where filtration of the water was not required.

“While we were very excited about the potential for the EStaRS, we recognized that in several cases, only disinfection of the water was required,” says Sharif. While working in Jharkhand, she recognized the benefit the disinfection component held on its own. “We noticed that with a few simple tweaks, we could make the chemical disinfection portion easier to install and operate, giving rise to the Hydrodoser you see installed in Lahanda.”

The Hydrodoser pilot was supported by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Department of Odisha, Tata Sponge Iron Limited, and the Tata Cornell Institute. However, work is not yet done for AguaClara Reach and Gram Vikas. Following the success of the Hydrodoser installation in Lahanda, the two organizations are working to secure funding to deploy at least sixty of these units in the communities in Odisha that need them most.

AguaClara Reach is a New York state nonprofit (501(c)3) that seeks to transform lives through the provision of safe, reliable drinking water on tap. AguaClara works with global partners in the field, as well as the AguaClara research program at Cornell University, to create solutions that run the gamut of municipal-scale water treatment needs. Together they empower communities to independently own and operate long-term solutions to their clean water needs. Since 2005, 7 AguaClara plants have been built in Honduran and Nicaraguan towns, serving 60,000 people, and 3 village-scale plants have been built in India, serving 2,600 people.

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