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Sanitation innovator wins Stockholm Water Prize

Dr. Peter Morgan has been named the 2013 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for his work to protect the health of millions of people through improved sanitation and water technologies. The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award presented annually to an individual, organization or institution for outstanding water-related achievements. It was created in 1991 by a group of sustainability-minded companies, including Xylem.

The solutions invented and advanced by Dr. Morgan over the past four decades to provide access to safe sanitation and clean water are being used by millions of people around the world.

“Many currently existing solutions to provide clean water and sanitation are unaffordable, impractical and out of reach for the world’s poorest people,” said the Stockholm Water Prize Committee in its citation. “As a result of Dr. Morgan’s pioneering work to develop practical water and sanitation technologies for those most in need, countless communities now enjoy safer water, a cleaner environment and quality of life.”

Having studied zoology, marine biology, fish and fisheries in the UK and Malawi, Dr. Morgan moved to Zimbabwe just over 40 years ago. He explains that his keen interest in the area of sanitation and water supplies began when met the former Secretary for Health, Dr. Dyson Blair.

“Dr. Blair, a retired government minister, researcher and medical practitioner, convinced me that new research was required into the area of sanitation and water supplies, particularly for use in rural areas. That’s where my work began,” he says.

Today, more than 780 million people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. Diseases caused by unsafe water and insufficient sanitation and hygiene kill more than 5,000 people each day.

“Although water is crucial to life, it is unequally distributed among the peoples of the world,” continues Morgan. “Some waste it in huge quantities, while others search for it and carry it for miles. Meanwhile, water as a resource is becoming increasingly scarce, while the nutrients in the soil are also being depleted in many parts of the world.”

“Practical and economic ways need to be sought to conserve water and bring it to people who have little. This is where sanitation comes in: finding ways of reducing water consumption in toilets, as well as looking into recycling the precious nutrients held in our excreta.”

Dr. Morgan has invented a wide range of simple, smart and low-cost water and sanitation technologies. Several of his most prominent innovations, including the “B” type Bush Pump and the Blair Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) Latrine, have been adopted as the national standard by the government of Zimbabwe.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to have been chosen to receive this highly prestigious award, but I want to emphasize that I’m only one of the people making progress in this sector,” he adds. “However, if this brings recognition to our country and to Africa and to what we’re doing to try to improve things, that is recognition enough.”
 

About the Stockholm Water Prize
Xylem is one of the founders of the Stockholm Water Prize, which was created by a group of industry-leading companies united by a shared commitment to promoting sustainability in the water sector. Since its creation in 1991, the award has been presented each year by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in recognition of outstanding water-related achievements. The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives USD 150,000 and a crystal sculpture specially designed and created by Orrefors.

by Isabelle Kliger