High hopes on the road to Paris

Global support for climate action is growing and with less than 100 days to go before a deal is struck in Paris, there is an increasing focus on governments around the world to match this support with political will. Unlike the heady days of the ‘90s when agreements in Rio and Kyoto left environmental campaigners euphoric, negotiations in recent years have been incremental and marred with political log jams; the signs for the latest Conference of the Parties (COP) however, have been positive and groups of all persuasions are looking forward to the outcome on December 11th.

Unlike previous COPs, all governments have been invited to publically disclose their ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDCs). These are the climate pledges that countries are encouraged to submit ahead of the UN negotiations and to date 30 INDCs have been submitted covering 57 countries and almost two thirds of global emissions. Many of these have indicated ambitious reduction targets and more than 100 countries are expected to have announced their plans before negotiations begin in November.

Countdown to Paris

The balance between a bottom-up and top-down (with the UN tracking whether governments are committing to enough reductions) format seems to have been delicate enough to ensure that a “fair” deal is struck and, since they have been decided themselves, governments of the future are less likely to backtrack on commitments. Setting these goals will send strong signals to businesses and investors globally, raising the confidence that a path is being laid in a transition towards a cleaner planet.

Today marked the close of the penultimate UN talks before Paris and already there seems to be a more open and transparent approach to roadblock issues that may arise over the coming months. We can only hope that this approach supports productive discussions and an ambitious climate agreement that meets global expectations and sets the tone for a brighter future.

Keep an eye on INDCs on the UNFCCC website – bit.ly/1AAyvjS

Planned Annual Maintenance, Chlorination and Reactive Repairs of Boreholes

Boreholes are resistant to many forms of natural and manmade disasters. Although the components above ground may be damaged, the narrow opening at the top of the borehole often prevents contamination of the water source or damage to the pump components below ground.

In general, groundwater contains no or low levels of harmful pathogens (bacteria) but it can be polluted with naturally occurring chemicals. Unfortunately, the quality of water drawn from handpumps fitted to boreholes is variable. Contamination can be caused by poor sanitary protection at the top of the borehole which in developing countries is caused by easy access of animals to the water source, poor hygiene of the surrounding area, water pooling at the source, cracks on the borehole apron or drainage channel among others.

Since the rehabilitation of boreholes by Co2balance in the Lango sub-region, there have been on-going planned annual maintenance, water chlorination and reactive repairs to ensure that these sources are in constant use and that the water quality is fit for human consumption.

Tests on the water quality have been carried out from time to time to ensure that the water is constantly safe for the communities.

Water user committees have been set up in every borehole to ensure that all the standards are kept for safe water use. They have been trained on Water and Sanitation programmes to empower them on better ways to maintain the boreholes. These committees also sit occasionally and discuss further ways of improving their water source by agreeing on how to use the borehole user fee collection, which is a government policy to ensure sustainability of the borehole. These fees are used for minor works around the borehole like clearing the surrounding areas, clearing the drainage channel, among others. These committees have even gone ahead to draft rules and guidelines for using the boreholes. This is a way gives them a sense of responsibility and ownership of the water source.

Feedback books have been provided to the community, where they are expected to inform Co2balance of their views, response and opinion of the water source. This enables the community to bring to light the areas that need improvement and this in turn enhances the performance of the water source. These books are kept close to the water source for easy access by the borehole users.

All this is in a bid to provide clean safe water all year round, throughout the project.

Chlorination in progress

Chlorination in progress

Rules and guidelines

Rules and guidelines

Amineceja-BORDOK008-Repair going on

Fitting a new head complete

Fitting a new head complete