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Safe Water Optimization Tool

Safe Water Optimization Tool


Last Updated on November 18, 2020

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Humanitarian operations have little in place to ensure that water quality complies with safety guidelines at the point of consumption, a significant oversight in response efforts.

Chlorination is the most widely practised water treatment technique used to supply safe water to refugees and internally displaced persons. If well managed, it can ensure residual contamination protection from the point of water dispensation to the point of water consumption in the household.

Humanitarian agencies prioritize water safety and routinely collect, monitor and report residual chlorination data. Little is done, however, to leverage this information to ensure that water quality complies with safety guidelines at the point of consumption, a significant oversight in response efforts.

The proper management and analysis of routinely collected residual chlorine data, using appropriate statistical techniques, will provide humanitarian field workers with high-quality, site-specific, and evidence-based operational guidance. The Safe Water Optimisation Tool (SWOT) is being developed with this primary objective. It aims to:

  • Improve public health by reducing the incidence of water borne disease
  • Establish site-specific guidance to ensure stricter compliance with chlorination standards at the household level
  • Improve accountability to populations and donors
  • Highlight problematic areas or practices towards which resources can be focused during water supply interventions or outbreak control

With Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders


Global Health & Humanitarianism



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Reflections from the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada’s Triannual Meeting and Sphere Training | September 22, 2023

Student Opportunity FW23-24 - Safe Water Optimization Tool RAY Student | September 6, 2023

Recap — Graduate Student-led Research on Probabilistic Modelling with Machine Learning for Safe Water Optimization | July 5, 2023

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York U researchers’ revamped AI tool makes water dramatically safer in refugee camps | November 4, 2022

DI Researchers Contribute to New Report on Scaling Humanitarian Innovations | November 3, 2022

Check out the SWOT at the UNC Water and Health Conference | October 19, 2022

Hot Off the Press – Modelling residual chlorine in humanitarian response in PLOS WATER | September 6, 2022

Research Fellow Syed Imran Ali Presented the Safe Water Optimization Tool at York’s Academia to Industry (A2I) Event | June 15, 2022

Highlighting the SWOT’s Risk-Based Approach at the 2022 Emergency Environmental Health Forum | April 25, 2022

Opportunity: Back-end Developer, Safe Water Optimization Tool Project | May 12, 2021

Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT) featured in Compendium of Water Supply Technologies in Emergencies | May 6, 2021

Safe Water Optimization Tool featured as Bold Innovations Helping People in Conflict | April 21, 2021

Opportunity: P/T Junior Developer, Safe Water Optimization Tool Project | January 26, 2021

Opportunity: Technical Advisor - SWOT and Humanitarian Water Engineering | December 15, 2020

New Research Grant: Safe Water Optimization Tool awarded WASH Evidence Challenge Grant from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund/Elrha | December 10, 2020

Virtual Launch of Safe Water Optimization Tool | December 7, 2020

New Publication: Dahdaleh Institute researchers publish groundbreaking study on safe water and public health in refugee camps | November 30, 2020

Dahdaleh Institute Fellow Syed Imran Ali featured on the Globe and Mail as part of their "Stepping Up" series | November 30, 2020

Safe Water Optimization Tool featured in two national magazines | November 16, 2020

Innovative new data analytics technology to help improve access to safe water in refugee camps | November 5, 2020

Hiring: Graphic Designer, Safe Water Optimization Tool | June 25, 2020

SWOT at MSF Scientific Days Conference (virtual) | May 11, 2020

Dahdaleh Institute Members Contribute to Doctors Without Borders Internal Newsletter | April 2, 2020

SWOT Second All-Team Meeting Moves Project Forward | February 25, 2020

Opportunity: Junior Developer, Safe Water Optimization Tool | January 15, 2020

Dahdaleh Researchers in China, Ireland, Bangladesh and USA | June 27, 2019

WASH Project Showcased in London at Humanitarian Innovation Fund Meeting | February 27, 2019

Design is not just a pretty interface - and other lessons from Emergency Data Science | February 20, 2019


James Orbinski, Director (On sabbatical Sept 2023 – Feb 2024)
Usman T. Khan, Faculty Fellow, Lassonde School of Engineering
Syed Imran Ali, Research Fellow, Global Health and Humanitarianism
Matthew Arnold, Technical Advisor, Safe Water Optimization Tool
Saad Ali, Data Science Specialist, Safe Water Optimization Tool
Ngqabutho Zondo, Graphic Design, Development
Mohamed Moselhy, Lead Developer, Safe Water Optimization Tool
Michael De Santi, Dahdaleh Global Health Graduate Scholar, Global Health & Humanitarianism
James Brown, Associate Course Director, Humanitarian Water Engineering; Technical Advisor, Safe Water Optimization Tool
Mike Spendlove,
Mike De Santi, York University
Jeff Fesselet, Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Ravjot Chana, Global Health and Humanitarianism, Global Health Intern
Katie Thomson, Research Assistant, Global Health and Humanitarianism [W20]
Kanishk Singh, Research Assistant, Humanitarian Engineering
Delal Hagos, Safe Water Optimization Tool, Global Health Intern

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