Uganda Water Distribution Project
A major problem that the community faces is their lack of clean water sources. There are three drilled wells in the community. The first well, which is located at the Primary School, often runs dry because of overwhelming demand. There is also always a long line there, and sometimes people have to wait over an hour for water. A second drilled well has an overpowering iron taste most likely due to the cast-iron casing of the borehole well. The third drilled well has a broken hand pump. The majority of villagers get their water from open spring wells (inlets into the rivers running through the community), which are by and large contaminated with fecal matter from cattle and runoff.
The community of Oloo is located in the Alebtong District in a rural area of north-central Uganda, 15 kilometers from the town of Aloi. Oloo has a population of 3654 people who are split into 9 villages. The community lacks basic water supply infrastructure, and therefore suffer a shortage of potable water throughout their dry season, which lasts from December to February each year. There is currently one well to sustain the community during the dry season, and villagers must walk long distances – up to 2 miles – every day to reach the water source, which often runs dry. In addition, many of the villagers don’t know how to boil or filter water or consider it to be a waste of time, which leads to health risks such as diarrhea, malaria, typhoid, and worms.
What We Do
The EWB Uganda technical team has been working hard designing a borehole well. A four-phase implementation plan has been conceived. The goal is to implement one phase each year, starting in 2014 and ending in 2018, serving 1,000 to 1,200 people by the end of the last phase.
EWB-GT is putting in most of the money and resources, however the community should contribute labor and money as well. They need to put in 5% of all materials costs and two years of operations and maintenance costs for each phase, all of which will be collected before the beginning of each phase. Phase I involved the implementation of the borehole well and India Mark II hand-pump. The estimated material costs were $10,000.
Phase II involved the removal of the hand-pump and the installation of a more permanent solar-powered pump as well as the construction of one 10,000 L storage tank with one tap stand. The approximate labor and material costs of this phase were about $40,000 and operations began in December 2015.
Phase III, the current phase, consists of two separate implementation trips. The first trip, currently proposed to take place in August 2016, will see the creation of a concrete substructure and the partial digging and laying of pipeline infrastructure. This will be the beginning of a water distribution network that will be complemented by the construction of an elevated structure to hold a 36,000 liter tank. This second part of Phase III is currently set to be implemented in August 2017.
Now that a solar-powered pump and a storage tank have been installed, the project will shift focus to the construction of a gravity-fed distribution system. This expanded source of water for the community would improve access to a basic life necessity, help combat the spread of disease, and allow for citizens to focus on other community development pursuits such as farming and education.
We are currently in the process of implementing the third phase of our project. We have already installed solar panels to power the new pump which has replaced the India Mark II hand pump. The next step is to begin the designing and construction of a gravity-fed distribution system. For the impending implementation trip scheduled to occur in August 2016, a 36,000 liter tank will be constructed and the commencement of the construction of a 5 kilometer distribution system. This distribution system is set to be finished during the second implementation trip of Phase III, set to occur in August 2017. On the non-technical side of the project, we are raising funds and forging a connection between the Oloo community, EWB-GT, the Georgia Tech community, and the greater Atlanta community. We are also preparing educational material that will overcome the language barrier.
In conclusion, we are on track to help Oloo gain access to clean water and extremely excited to work with A River Blue, our nonprofit partner, and the village of Oloo to overcome the challenges this upcoming semester holds!