In the developed word we are privileged to have safe, clean drinking water at a turn of a tap. In the Mbale regoon of Uganda only 42% of the households have safe, clean water, and most of this provision is centred on the town. Hence most people in the villages have to walk miles to collect water and it is mainly women and children who do this. Schools often have no water so children either have to bring water with them, or the school day is broken up by having to take significant time out to walk to the nearest supply of water.
PONT is working with one of our partner NGO's (Jenga), with input from engineering expertise and finance from the UK, to address this.
Water is not scarce in Mbale, however it is often a significant distance from where people live and/or is contaminated, leading to health problems and death.
Water can be provided by:
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Bore Holes
- Protected Springs
- Gravity Flow Systems (GFS) i.e. a dam and tanks on a hill, supplying taps via a network of pipes lower down.
PONT is involved in the following projects:
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Mutoto GFS - rehabiliation
- Mooni GFS - new water source
If a building has a tin roof then, for a basic rainwater harvesting system, all that is needed is some guttering and something to catch the water in.
PONT has paid for Jenga to join the URWHA (Uganda Rain Water Harvesting Association). This has enabled them to obtain a mould and training to build suitable concrete water tanks.
The smaller ones only cost around £130 and will serve a household of 8 people for many years. The larger type cost around £1000 and are suitable for use on community buildings.
There is moderate rainfall in Mbale so they work well and provide a convenient source of clean water nearby for the duration of the rainy season, and for limited periods during the dry season.
Mutoto GFS - Rehabiliation
At Mutoto there is an existing GFS, but it has fallen into a state of disrepair. PONT facilitated a study and report on the system by EFOD (Engineers for Overseas Development, a part of the ICE - the Institute of Civil Engineers). The report detailed the work required to bring the system into working order. Jenga is gradually working its way through the recomendations of the report as funds allow.
This system, when fully functional, supplies approx 6,000 people.
A tap with the top blown off... ...a temporary repair, but still a continuous flow.
A burst pipe.
Mooni GFS - New water sources
The Mooni GFS was rehabilitated previously by Jenga and brought back into full working order. However the water source supplying the system is severely contaminated, and indications are that half of the deaths in the area are due to the water. In 2009 there was a cholera outbreak in the area.
This system supplies approx 6,000 people.
PONT provided funding during 2008 to Jenga to enable them to have the necessary water testing done on a number of sources in the area in order to identify suitable alternatives. Some testing was also done on the existig (Muyanda) source to quatify the level of contamination.
There is no clean source in the area with enough flow to directly replace the existing source at the top and to supply the whole system. As a result the system is to be split into two - the upper section supplied from one source, and the lower section from two sources. In November 2008 a member of the PONT engineering team, who is a qualified surveyor, joined on a visit to Mbale and spent the week surveying the route from the new upper source to the top of the existing system. This completed the required surveying, enabling the volunteer water engineer in the UK to complete the design of the new pipeline.
In conjuncton with Jenga the complete project was costed at around £21k. The project will be implemented in two phases. In phase 1 (£13k) the existing contaminated source will be replaced by the new upper source. This will reduce the flow of water available at peak times to those in the lower Mooni area, but the water will be safe to drink. After further fundraising phase 2 (£8k) will be implemented. This will add in the new lower water sources which will then provide a full flow of water to everyone in the area.
Phase 1 was completed in the autumn of 2010, and a formal opening celebration event held. Planning and fundraising for phase 2 are in progress.
Cardiff Breakfast Rotary Club in the UK is helping to fund the project with a combination of local fund raising together with matching grants from Rotary International. The project will be implemented in a partnership involving Jenga and Mbale Rotary Club.
The original contaminated source at Muyanda. The main water tank at the top of the system.
Celebrating the opening of stage 1.