In a continued drive to expand access to water in Northern Uganda, CO2balance recently repaired a solar powered borehole in Omoro sub-county that had been broken down for over 10 years. This borehole broke down at the peak of the insurgency caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in Northern Uganda. This solar pump was estimated to be serving over 2,500 people at the time of its breakdown which caused a major water crisis in the sub-region.
Site before rehabilitation
Preparation for pump installation
A solar-powered pump runs on electricity generated by photo-voltaic panels or the radiated thermal energy available from collected sunlight as opposed to grid electricity or diesel-run water pumps. A submersible pump is used and this pushes water to the surface by converting rotary energy into kinetic energy then into pressure. Solar pumps are an energy efficient, environmentally friendly way to pump water for various uses from domestic consumption to supporting agriculture activities.
Electronic works in progress
Installation of the submersible pump
Connecting solar panels
Switch controller being tested
Technicians checking the solar panels
The community at Omoro sub-county have been heavily relying on unsafe water sources as a result of the high population putting great pressure on a limited supply of boreholes which have not been well maintained and have therefore broken down. They further suffered a big water crisis early this year as a result of drought in the region. A growing population, including families moving in from neighboring districts, has heightened the pressure on water resources in the area.
old unsafe source 1
old unsafe source 2
old unsafe source 3
old unsafe source 4
old unsafe source 5
With this new safe water source, access to clean safe water has been increased and many households will benefit from it. The solar powered pump scheme has storage pump tanks of up to 32,000 litres of water, feeding 5 distribution points which will ensure constant supply of water to the people of Omoro. The pioneering technology will ensure that water from a single borehole reaches 5 distribution points throughout Omoro, limiting the distance that users have to travel to access safe water.
Checking and cleaning of the tanks
Water being pumped out
Checking and cleaning of the tanks1
Storage water tanks
Dropping the pipes in
Water and……..more water
This is the first time that we at CO2balance have incorporated a solar borehole into our project activities, having always previously focused on hand-powered boreholes. We are very excited at the potential of introducing a technology that, using the power of the sun, will extend clean, safe water to 5 times as many individuals as would be possible with a hand pump. Watch this space for updates on this project and we hope to repair many more solar boreholes in years to come!
For the people of Abongodyang village, this Easter season was special and extra ordinary as it came with it the best ‘Easter Egg’ in form of a newly drilled borehole by co2balance – a gift of clean safe water.
Drilling in progress
Apron and drainage casting
Installation in progress
The village of Abongodyang which has a population of about 320 people who until the drilling of the borehole had been using unsafe water sources like open wells, ponds, swamps, among others were very excited about their new water source which is not only clean and safe but has a good yield and is close to their homes.
Previous water source
Dried up open well
After doing a thorough hydro-geological survey, a suitable site was picked to ensure the borehole had a high sustainable yield and good water quality. This was followed by site clearance which the community actively participated to strengthen their community engagement and partnership with co2balance in the continuous maintenance of this borehole after drilling.
The community has now pledged to look after the borehole and ensure that it is always clean and safe from any contamination that may be harmful to their health. They have also agreed to contribute the water user fees that that was set as a government policy to ensure that the communities are able to maintain the source using the money collected from all households.
Drilling of this borehole has not only increased the safe water coverage in Otuke district but also ensured that so many waterborne diseases are avoided by consuming unsafe water. This also means that the wood fuel that goes into purifying this water significantly drops.
They say…….. ‘THANK YOU’
As the world commemorates the International Women’s Day, the women of Corner Apii and Telela Apala villages in Kole district, Northern Uganda surely have a reason to celebrate this day. Corner Apii borehole was drilled by the government and shortly broke down leaving the community of over 800 people with no option but to turn to an open spring that they shared with animals. This was constantly contaminated by animal waste and caused waterborne diseases to them like typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea among others.
The women of Corner Apii village suffered most due to the breakdown of this borehole. They had to use unsafe sources of water as the alternative borehole was far and inaccessible. This made them less productive as they had to not only collect water but also look for firewood to purify the water for drinking.
Old water source at Corner Apii
Broken down Corner Apii borehole before repair
After an 8 months breakdown, CO2balance has helped rehabilitate this borehole today and given hope for clean safe water to the Corner Apii and Apala Telela community once more.
Newly rehabilitated Corner Apii borehole
Beatrice, Sandra and Judith at the borehole
‘I had a small business that generated some extra income for my family but I closed it because I did not have enough time to manage it. I had to farm in the morning and later do house chores before going in search of water and firewood. This left me tired and with no time to tend to my shop…..’ narrates 67 year old Beatrice Alyango who lives half a kilometer from the newly repaired borehole.
With the repair of the borehole, she hopes to re-open her shop as she will now have enough time to tend to it.
45 year old Santa Ocen, married with 10 Children who lives half a kilometer from the borehole celebrates the new water source. When the borehole broke down, she constantly worried about her little girls traveling for long distances unaccompanied in search of water and firewood. The same water collected was not clean and they ended up sick and missing school. She is confident that cases of diseases will now be a thing of the past as she totally trusts borehole water.
Judith Okello aged 35, a mother to 4 children is also happy that this borehole was repaired because it is going to sort out the issue of domestic violence in homes.
‘Husbands would always beat up their wives if they delayed to return home from fetching water. They would accuse their wives of meeting up with other men while fetching water from these far off wells hence the delay. The women’s pleas fell on deaf ears and this trend would continue because the women had to collect water everyday….’ narrates Judith Okello.
Corner Apii is just one out of the 20 newly rehabilitated boreholes in 2017. Another borehole rehabilitated today (pictured below) is Apala Telela and the women say ‘Thank you’.
Women of Apala Telela borehole
WASH is the collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and these three cores are interdependent on the presence of the other. For example, without toilets, water sources become contaminated as a result of open defecation and poor waste disposal; without clean water, basic hygiene practices like hand washing are not possible. Drinking water sources are increasingly under threat from contamination, which impacts not only on the health of people, but also on the economic, environmental and social development of communities.
Threats to drinking water quality include unsafe handling and storage at the household level: water drawn from safe sources like boreholes may be contaminated by the time it reaches its storage point in households if poorly handled. In most rural areas, drinking water is stored in clay pots which are vulnerable to contamination if poorly handled.
A typical drinking water storage pot
Drinking water pot
Co2balance with its partner NGO WAACHA in Kaliro recently carried out a WASH sensitization to impart these three cores to the communities that are using the boreholes rehabilitated and maintained by it. They encouraged them on the need to have sanitary facilities like toilets and also influence behavioral change towards hygiene practices. Good hygiene practices such as hand washing with soap after using the toilet is essential to prevent disease and promote health.
Budumba community attending WASH
Bukongolo community attending WASH
Bukayale community attending WASH
Nansohera community attending WASH
The water resource committee members on behalf of the communities embraced the exercise and promised to elect voluntary health trainers who will move door to door training the households. They also pledged to encouraged the communities without toilets to build them at a safe distance from water sources and their homes and install tippy taps with soap for hand washing after using the toilet. This will go a long way in promoting good health and the principles of WASH.
Co2balance as a project developer started borehole rehabilitation in the Lango sub region located in the northern part of Uganda in 2013 with the repair of 41 boreholes spread out in the districts of Alebtong, Otuke, Kole and Dokolo in a bid to provide clean safe water to these communities.
water collection from an unprotected spring
One of the old sources before rehabs
By the end of 2016, in an expansion drive, the number of boreholes rehabilitated rose to 61 with an additional 40 boreholes added in 2016 alone. This has increased access to clean safe water for many households who before the rehabilitation were using unsafe water sources like ponds, open wells among others.
Old rusty pipes to be replaced
New plastic pipes to replace old metalic pipes
In addition to the borehole rehabilitation, a Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) sensitization was carried out to educate the community on the importance of keeping their environment clean by fencing the borehole, cleaning it, keeping animals and waste away from it and above all maintaining the safe water chain from borehole to domestic storage. These good hygiene practices coupled with the clean water from these boreholes help eradicate waterborne diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, and dysentery and also reduces the risk of cholera outbreaks.
WASH sensitizations for the rehabilitated borehole
WASH training in progress
Water quality testing which is a standard procedure and requirement by the national water authorities was carried out in the rehabilitated boreholes since they have not been in use for a while. This was to ensure that the water from these boreholes meet the required standards, pass the set parameters and are suitable for human consumption. All the boreholes tested passed the tests and are therefore safe for the community.
A BIG thank you
45 year old Alex Opio, a father of 10 children is a resident of Tetugo Village in Otuke district and a user of the newly rehabilitated Barabolo borehole that was sighted by co2balance in its expansion of the ‘Lang0 Safe Water Project’ as one of the many broken down boreholes serving a big population with no other clean alternative point water sources.
Alex and Isaac (Project officer)
Alex lost his left limb to a landmine explosion at the peak of the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda in 2004. Gazzeted in an internally displaced camp, he was deployed at the Local Defence Unit that was tasked to protect families living in the camps. They were required to escort the women and children who went out into the fields to farm and also look for water and firewood.
To solve the water scarcity issue, Barabolo borehole was drilled near their local church but due to lack of proper management, it broke down. The borehole serves over 300 people but had been broken for over a year which pushed them to use an open well that was meant for animals. The nearby health center recorded so many cases of water borne diseases especially among the children.
Barabolo borehole before repair
Alex’s family that lives half a kilometer from this water source had to trek for over 2kms to an open well which had unsafe water and also had some security concerns due to the presence of the rebels and sparse settlement patterns of the communities.
Alex and Engineer Tom – repair works going on in the background
Alex says that with the repair of this borehole and its proximity to his house, he is guaranteed of good health through clean water and safety for his family. His two wives and the other women that use the borehole have been able to open up a savings group through which they will borrow and lend money to provide funding for other income generating activities like small trading/businesses. The nearby borehole has made it possible for them to save time hence the ability to carry out other activities like trading and farming to improve on their income and food basket.
Fully rehabilitated Barabolo borehole
As the world over commemorated this year’s International Day of the Girl Child on the 11th of October 2016, with the theme “girls’ progress = goals’ progress: what counts for girls”, 16 year old Scovia Adong, a pupil of Telela Primary School was oblivious about the meaning of this day or that it even existed. For her, it was business as usual. She went on with her daily home chores and left for school – arriving late like she usually does.
Scovia lives with her 73 year old grandmother in a small grass thatched house and helps her with all the house chores and errands. Top on her list is collecting water for their house use which she does first thing before leaving for school. During her lunch break, she returns home to prepare a quick meal for her grandmother and also help her with cleaning the compound.
Scovia’s grandmother’s house
Scovia getting ready to use the repaired borehole
Scovia cleaning her grandma’s compound
Interview with Scovia – Grace and Scovia
I wake up at 6am and set out to the open spring that is 3km away from my grandmother’s home. I have to move to that open source because the borehole (Telela) close to our home broke down. When it broke down, my mother requested me to move in with my grandmother so as to help her collect water. After collecting the water, I have to boil it so that it can be safe for drinking – after which, I help her with other tasks before leaving for school at 8am. Since my school is 1.5km away, I am always late for school and this affects my studies.
Telela borehole is one of the safe water sources being rehabilitated by co2balance under its expansion of the Lango Safe Water Project. This borehole rehabilitation comes as a gift on this special day of the Girl child for Adong Scovia whose home is just 30 meters from the borehole.The rehabilitation saw the borehole get a complete facelift from the old metallic pipes that were susceptible to rust to new plastic pipes that will ensure clean safe water.
Broken down borehole – Telela
Old rusty pipes taken out of borehole
New PVC pipes being installed during the rehabilitation
The news of this borehole rehabilitation brought so much joy to her and her grandmother. She and her peers will no longer move long unsafe distances to access water from unsafe sources but rather have potable water close to them and minimize on the need to boil their water hence saving on the burning of woodfuel. The time saved will also help them concentrate on their studies and be able to achieve their set goals.
Rehabilitated borehole in use
Rehabilitated borehole in use
Scovia Adong says thank you!
As my Primary Leaving Examinations draw close, I will now have enough time to concentrate on my studies and have good grades to enable me join a good secondary school. I want to be a fashion designer or tailor when I complete school. Thank you co2balance.