Congrats the winners of the Student Poster Competition!
Precipitation based flood early warning system in the Manafwa River basin for the Uganda Red Cross Society
Francesca Cecinati, MIT, Fidele Bingwa, MIT, Yan Ma, MIT
The communities living in the Manafwa River basin experience frequent floods threatening their lives and property. Climate change and anthropogenic perturbations to the natural environment increase flooding frequency. The Manafwa river basin spans three districts in Eastern Uganda and the floods affect about 45,000 people. Our group, consisting of three MIT graduate students, Francesca Cecinati, Fidele Bingwa, and Ma Yan, is working with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to design a precipitation based flood forecasting system for the Manafwa River Basin.
The long term goal of the URCS is to have a flood forecasting system and early warning system working by 2015. The system would be able to give the probability of a flood event and the extent of the flood plain, and if need be, warn the affected population. The short term goal, and our objective, is to develop a static hydrological model that relates precipitation with flood risk and flood plain. This work represents the first step in the development of the forecasting system.
During the month of January, we traveled to Uganda to collect data for our model. We have now started the stage of model testing, and so far, we are optimistic about our results. The model will be delivered to the URCS in May 2013, and will be able to determine flooded areas based on precipitation data.
Permeability of electrospun mats under pressure driven flow
Simon Choong (presenter), Philip Reiser, Matthew Mannarino, Greg Rutledge
Electrospun mats are promising in many filtration applications like coalescence filtration, depth filtration, etc., because of their high surface-to-volume ratio (10-500 m2/g for 10-500 nm fiber diameter) and high porosity (>0.9), which results in high permeability constants. Electrospun mats are also highly compressible, and so that their porosity decreases with increasing pressure. This compressibility of the mat can reduce the benefits of high porosity in filtration applications. An understanding of the extent of the reduction in permeance upon compression for electrospun mats is vital for performance comparison with other commercial filtration membranes in filtration processes.
Accuracy and usability of free chlorine residual testing methods
Anna Murray, Tufts University; Dr. Daniele Lantagne, Tufts University
Chlorination of household drinking water is a water treatment method proven to reduce the diarrheal disease burden in the development context, and measuring free chlorine residual after treatment indicates the potability of treated water. There are several methods available for testing the presence of chlorine residual in the field; these vary in terms of cost, measurement precision, and training required to perform the tests. This study evaluated seven commercially-available chlorine residual test kits based on accuracy of chlorine residual readings, cost, and usability. Each test kit was used measure the free and total available chlorine concentrations in eleven water samples, ranging from 0.0 to 4.0 mg/L chlorine. Readings were taken under both fluorescent light and natural sunlight conditions. Test kits that use DPD reagents were also tested using the incorrect reagent, to simulate potential impacts due to user error. A focus group was held where participants tested water samples and evaluated the test kits in terms of their usability. The tests were ranked according to five criteria.
Of the test kits evaluated, the recommended kits are the LaMotte Colorimeter and LaMotte Presence/Absence kit, where the primary difference is the cost of the two methods. The recommendations are applicable to researchers and development organizations in field monitoring of drinking water chlorination interventions for diarrheal disease reduction.