Sunday, May 22, 2011

In Africa Water is Life

The theme for the pursuit of clean water in Africa is WATER IS LIFE!

This is a lush green country with some arid spots but a considerable amount of rainfall that should easily sustain a water system and even an electrical system country wide.

Many people are focusing on clean water here but it is amazing to see the amount of clean water sources that have been done here by the church over the last 10 years.

The church is funding many types of water projects.
Spring runoff before it is protected
Protected spring can have as many pipes as flow allows - flows year around.
Protected Natural Springs: This is the easies water source to build here, the catchment of natural springs that gather water from several springs, bringing the water into a catchment basin and then allowing it to flow freely through a pipe. This process captures the water before it becomes contaminated and the water flows year around without any containment. The best part about springs is that there is no maintenance except keeping the runoff ditch clear so that the water doesn't flow back to the pipe area. The community just has to keep the site clean and free of debris. The water belongs to the community and since there is no maintenance cost the water is free. The limitation of a spring is that it has to be located where there is a spring source and these are often at the bottom of hills which still requires some effort for gathering water. These water sources can last up to 50 years. The cost of developing a spring is approx. $1800.
    Water source is open for animals to drink and is usually stagnant water.
    Can be built in 2-3 days and is protected by fence to keep animals away.
Shallow Hand Dug Well: This type of water source is used where there is ground water but no free flowing springs. A shallow well is dug about 20 meters deep and then covered with a pump system. The pump requires maintenance and a good deal of community support to keep the pump in working condition but maintenance cost is minimal and the people can pay a small amount per Jeri can of water which can fund the pump maintenance. Interestingly some people will still go to the ground water source so they don't have to pay for water even though the ground water is very unsafe. Cost of a hand dug well is approx. $1800.
Only alternative water source for these villagers was collecting water from the swamp
Children are very fearful of collecting water at a pond or swamp because of snakes and crocodiles
Deep Borehole: This type of water system is necessary in the more arid parts of Uganda where the rainfall is limited. It requires the use of a drilling rig that can bore a hole as deep as needed to find an aquifer. A borehole requires active community participation to pay a small amount for water to fund pump repairs. A water committee governs the borehole collecting fees for water, doing maintenance and managing repairs as needed. Boreholes if cared for properly can last many years. A bore hole is valuable as it usually can be put close to where the need is and it is most often bringing water to a community that has no other water source available. Cost for a borehole averages $10,300.
Children are assigned to fetch water each day which can take 4-6 hours causing them to miss a day of a school water source is a real blessing
Any water for a school is a wonderful gift
Rain water catchment: A great way to provide water for health clinics or schools is by capturing rainwater from the roof. This system requires a metal roof with at least 30 feet of gutter that feeds water into a poly tank. Although this water is not pure enough for drinking it provides water for washing and cleaning and can be boiled for drinking. Cost for a 10,000 Liter water catchment system $2,400. These systems can be used on homes with smaller tanks for personal family use.

In Uganda during the last 18 months the church has funded
  • 267 Protected springs
  • 50 hand dug wells
  • 20 boreholes
  • 78 water catchment systems for schools and health clinics
Lets add to that
  • 90 6-stance latrines and hand washing stations for schools.
  • Includes a wash room for girls to clean up and a stance for handicapped.
Hand washing station near latrine
  • 70 Clothes Washing Stations at water source sites
  • Close washing station at water source
  • 390,000+ people receiving clean water and training in hygiene and sanitation.
Your LDS Charites WATER DOLLARS doing good works in Uganda.


Bill said...

Thank you for sharing these experiences and information. It is wonderful to see how the Church is helping the people by bringing them clean water. I am pretty sure that most of us who read this blog has no idea what it means to finally have clean water and how much it reduces sickness in the areas where it is provided.

Tiffany said...

Thank you for taking the time to summarize and explain the different kinds of water projects. Water is Life!

Eliza said...

Wow! That is wonderful!

Art Glenn said...

You have done a great job Barlows. It is good to see faces of our old friends in Uganda still working hard. Tell everyone hello for us.

Angela said...


LBJ said...

I'm so amazed at the great work that you're doing. I have come to see how clean water changes lives and understanding the varies ways of accomplishing that was most interesting to me. I've never seen most of them. I've always wondered why they don't catch rain water and use it. Thanks for your sharing your great knowledge and good works with us.