been conducting ecological sanitation projects and experiments for
more than four years in conjunction with the SanRes Project/Programme
and now with the EcoSanRes Programme.
established itself as an organization primarily concerned with
research and dissemination, rather than large-scale implementation of
focus of the research and outreach work is to demonstrate that, at
minimal cost to the householder, substantial benefits can be gained
from choosing ecological methods of sanitation. With this focus on
lower cost methods of ecosan, Aquamor's pilot project is
concentrated on developing knowledge about the usefulness of the
by-products - urine and eco-humus - and strengthening the link
between sanitation and agriculture.
in the Fossa Alterna and the Arborloo (specific types of
ecological toilet construction that reuse the nutrients found in human
excreta using shallow pits), Aquamor is currently researching the most
effective ways to retrieve the valuable nutrients from excreta and
apply them to crops. Part of this research includes experimenting with
different faecal additives, such as ash and lime, to find the best
combination to make humus.
identified seven areas of research and four opportunities to create
awareness and disseminate the knowledge gained from the research.
Areas of Research
Design and construction of
experimental latrines - emphasizing low
cost and recycling nutrients found in excreta back into the
experimental latrines - Aquamor maintains several ecological
toilets in rural, peri-urban and urban areas in Zimbabwe where various
crops are tested comparing growth yields and combinations of urine and
eco-humus as fertilizer and soil conditioner, as well as upkeep and
Humus formation in shallow pits
and jars - this is a study of the conversion of excreta into
humus, using faeces isolated in jars and faeces and urine combined in
shallow pits. The study examines the formation of humus with variables
such as partly lined pits, fully lined pits and the amount and type
additives used (for example different soil mixtures), and includes
Methods of using eco-humus in
agriculture - an investigation into the efficiency of eco-humus
as a soil conditioner, meaning composted excreta is added to naturally
occurring sands and less fertile soils to improve the texture and
increase nutrient levels. The study will also examine different
agricultural structures, such as shallow and aboveground gardens, and
the use of containers like buckets, cement jars and basins. The aim is
to improve the barren soils common in peri-urban and communal
settlements so they are fertile enough to grow food as a result of
Urine and its usefulness - using experimental latrines,
Aquamor will analyse methods of urine collection: urine diversion,
urinals, desert lily and direct filling into containers. This portion
of the research will also investigate the use of urine as a fertilizer
without the addition of eco-humus.
Soil analysis - to be
performed on a number of soil types with and without the addition of
humus formed in eco-latrines and through composting. The soil analysis
aims to measure the effect of humus and urine application to naturally
occurring soils and should clearly demonstrate the increased fertility
of ecologically fertilized soils.
Tree growth monitoring -
several tree species have been planted in organic pits (the Arborloo)
including trees suitable for fruit production, fuel, medicine and
construction. The survival and growth of these trees in various
locations will be monitored.
Opportunities to Share
- Aquamor's garden acts as a laboratory and exhibition area to
display latrines, composting methods and specialized gardens for
vegetable production using the nutrients retrieved from human excreta.
Aquamor also offers training in the construction of latrines and
methods of urine and faecal application in agriculture.
Links with permaculture and
organic farming - ecological sanitation shares methods of
production with organic farming and permaculture (a
design system for creating sustainable human environments using
ecology as a basis for integrated systems of food production, housing,
appropriate technology, and community development). The
holistic approach advocated by each concept offers an opportunity to
share knowledge and promote sustainable development.
production - a
fourth volume of Ecological Sanitation in Zimbabwe is being composed,
concentrating on the use of human excreta in agriculture.
and dialogue -
mainly through electronic communication, Aquamor will continue an
ongoing exchange of information with local and international
information contact Peter Morgan
or visit Aquamor's web site (hot link to http://aquamor.tripod.com).