Aquatest Research Programme

In October 2007, after initial European Union funding, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the University of Bristol a grant to research and develop a user-friendly, low-cost water quality test that can be used on-site in developing country field conditions and to prepare for the future introduction of the test in developing countries.

Our vision is that by 2017, low-cost water testing devices will be widely used in 80 percent of developing countries. The devices will be used by water professionals, community groups and part-time/volunteer supply managers who won't need specialist scientific knowledge to use the test kits or interpret the results.

Aquatest tutorials

  • A step-by-step video guide to using the Aquatest system

Your device doesn't support direct playback. Please download the video (MP4) instead.

Pilot scheme

The final stage of the Aquatest research and development process was to take the technology out of the lab and put the device in the hands of the end users.

In November 2011 an extensive pilot scheme began to test c.10,000 devices in the field in partnership with 17 organisations in 16 countries:

  • Water suppliers: Kenya, Vietnam, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Cambodia, Bolivia, S. Africa, Mozambique, Canada
  • Health surveillance agencies: Bolivia, S. Africa, Mozambique, Canada
  • International NGOs and researchers: India, DRC. Somaliland, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana

The Aquaya team conducting a landscaping survey to understand:

  • who is responsible for water quality testing;
  • current testing capacity;
  • technologies in use; and
  • constraints to water quality testing.

Following on site training, feedback was obtained on the experience of end-users and institutional managers through semi-structured interviews and direct observation of testing data.

Useful links

Consortium partners

University of Bristol*


Health Protection Agency


University of California

University of Cape Town

University of Southampton

University of Surrey

Other organisations involved

  World Health Organisation

Kinneir Dufort


Water institute

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