Since 2013, CO2balance has been developing a number of borehole rehabilitation projects in Uganda under the Gold Standard voluntary carbon offset scheme. After almost 2 years, we are glad to announce that 4 VPAs in the Lango sub-region (Dokolo, Alebtong and Otuke Districts) have recently issued carbon credits for the first time. This is a major achievement for everyone that has been involved in the projects, in particular our staff in Uganda who have worked extensively with the communities and other local stakeholders to garner support and ensure that there is participation at all levels. Although this may seem straightforward, in practice there are a plethora of challenges that need to be negotiated especially when operating in such remote and poverty stricken environments.
Between 1987 and 2007, the Lango sub-region was subject to countless human rights atrocities by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which has had long lasting impacts on the social and economic fabric of the affected areas . It is estimated that over 20,000 children were abducted by the LRA many of whom were forced to commit horrific acts of violence. Around 1 million people fled their homes and ended up moving to temporary camps for the internally displaced (IDPs). The prolonged period of conflict inevitably led to the deterioration of institutions and basic services. All the challenges related to rebuilding a war-torn region are evident, from stabilising the economy and restoring infrastructure to reintegrating former members of the LRA and addressing human rights abuses.
Memorial Site for the 2004 LRA Massacre in Otuke District
Building a biogas plant for a local school in Barlonyo
Over the last 3 years, CO2balance has rehabilitated 41 boreholes in the Lango sub-region which supply clean water to over 20,000 people who previously relied on open water sources such as lakes and ponds. As local governments lack sufficient funds for water infrastructure, these projects are playing a small but important role in the region’s post conflict development.
CO2balance realises that community participation is crucial to the long term success of its projects
One of CO2balance’s rehabilitated boreholes in the Lango sub-region
When developing a borehole project, one might think that the hardest part is the physical rehabilitation and the siting of the boreholes. However there are many challenges which appear only in the second phase of the project, once the boreholes are providing safe water. We have met one of these challenges when some locals reported that the water from our freshly rehabilitated boreholes is salty and not palatable for few users in our Rwandan project. These feedback were unexpected because the water quality tests carried out by a recognized laboratory showed that all tested parameters are well within the acceptable range. What could have been the problem then?
According to our field team, locals have been drinking warm and dirty water from lakes and pond which might have tasted sweeter than the fresh and clean water coming from the boreholes. Our NGO partner reported about similar experience in other clean water project.
The laboratory has also confirmed that the underlying reason is that groundwater often has higher levels of dissolved solids than surface water because of its contact with aquifer geologic material and more time to dissolve rock and mineral materials. To explore the issue more in-depth, conductivity of the borehole water was tested, which is an indicator of the amount of dissolved salts and used to estimate the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) rather than measuring each dissolved constituent separately. This is an important parameter for drinking water because high TDS values may result in a ‘salty’ taste to the water.
All our TDS results for our rehabilitated boreholes have been well within the limit and range required in the “WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, Fourth Edition” and we found it important to share it also with our local borehole users. The issue has been incorporated into the WASH education and community sensitization programme to make sure that people are aware why the borehole water may taste “salty” after years of drinking surface water. The success of the WASH programme is confirmed by the field team and in-country partners but also by the usage survey which now shows 100% usage of the rehabilitated boreholes.
CO2balance are celebrating somewhat of a milestone this week as we submit our 50th project under our global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA) GS1247! Together, our projects have had a huge impact, reducing global carbon emissions and improving livelihoods in some of the world’s poorest communities.
This is a significant flag in the ground and it coincides with the commitment from World Leaders to 17 Global Goals in the hope of achieving three extraordinary things; ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and mitigating climate change. As we continue to develop projects across the globe we are proud to be able to see and measure the tangible benefits that our projects have and how they are contributing towards achieving these goals.
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CO2balance are pleased to announce the registration of a second borehole rehabilitation project in Kaliro District (GS3563) under the global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA). Together with the support from the local NGO Women’s alliance and Children Affairs (WAACHA), CO2balance works closely with a range of stakeholders such as district officials, mechanics and community leaders in order to ensure that our projects benefit the most vulnerable people. During my last visit to Kaliro, we organised a meeting with the District water officer, who explained some of the challenges affecting rural water resource management in Uganda. Among the key problems he mentioned, was the lack of capacity to cope with borehole maintenance and repairs. Although most boreholes are owned by the communities themselves, the costs associated with maintaining them are simply not affordable, which means that the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the local government. As shown in the chart below, over 98% water points are funded by the government.
Over 98% of funding for water points comes from the local government. Source: Directorate of Water Development, Ministry of Water & Environment, 2010
Even though a significant part of the District’s annual budget goes towards the maintenance of water points, it is clearly not enough to cover the demand. This means that many communities are often left with no other choice but to collect there water from unprotected sources such as swamps, rivers and ponds which are highly susceptible to water borne diseases such as typhoid.
A women collecting water from an open well in Kaliro District
A broken down borehole in Kaliro District
Located in the south-west of Uganda, Kaliro District has a total population of 202,200 people of which only 13,282 reside in urban areas. Current sources estimate that approximately 37% of the rural population are still without access to protected water sources. Of the people that do have access to potable water, 99% rely exclusively on boreholes and shallow wells. Considering the lack of financial capacity of the local government, combined with the overwhelming importance of off grid water points-using carbon finance as a means to implement sustainable water point maintenance programmes provides a practical solution to this problem and could potentially contribute significantly to enhancing water access throughout the poorest regions of the globe.
CO2balance meeting with the Kaliro District Water Officer (left) and Director of WAACHA, Noah Isanga.
CO2balance and WAACHA assessing broken down boreholes in Kaliro
After the successful rehabilitation of more than 60 boreholes in Gatsibo district in Rwanda, co2balance is exploring the opportunities to further expand its operation in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. As a part of this process, we have invited people to the local stakeholder consultation which will take place at 10 am on the 16th of September at the Head Office of Kayonza District. The stakeholder meeting will be facilitated by our in-country partners FAPDR and Rwandans4Water and will be attended, among other, by representatives from both Co2balance and Climate Corporation Emissions Trading GmbH. We welcome anyone interested in our clean-water projects and hope to see many local and international stakeholders next Wednesday.
Through its innovative global micro Programme of Activities (mPoA), CO2balance are developing projects in some of the most remote and poverty-stricken areas in the world, which have yet to gain access to the benefits of carbon finance. Since 2013, we have listed over 40 new micro-scale VPAs under the Gold Standard Foundation, the majority of which are safe water projects that focus on the rehabilitation and maintenance of boreholes.
In developing countries, off grid water points such as boreholes still play an essential role in supplying rural areas with safe water and although millions of dollars are spent each year by governments and NGOs alike on new infrastructure, one of the key problems that remains is the absence of functional maintenance systems for existing water points. In some countries such as Malawi and Uganda up to 30% of the boreholes are broken down at any given time, highlighting an urgent need for pragmatic solutions to water supply management in developing countries.
The borehole rehabilitation projects run by CO2balance together with its local NGO partners seek to tackle this problem by leveraging carbon finance to fund the long-term upkeep of boreholes. Furthermore, we work closely with the communities on sensitisation and general borehole management which is a crucial element to the success of the projects.
Local NGO partner WAACHA rehabilitating a borehole in Kaliro District
CO2balance are proud to announce the registration of a fifth Gold Standard borehole project in Uganda –Kaliro Safe Water Project GS3443-adding to the company’s rapidly growing portfolio of micro scale projects in the country. Since 2013 CO2balance have repaired over 50 boreholes in 5 districts which supply clean water to more than 30,000 people. This marks a major achievement especially taking into account the challenging and remote locations we operate in. Stay tuned for further updates as we continue to develop our projects in Uganda.
A Rehabilitated and well maintained borehole in Lwamboga, Kaliro
Photos courtesy of the Womens Alliance and Children Affairs NGO
In partnership with our local NGO partner Rwandans4Water, we have finished the rehabilitation further 30 boreholes in Gatsibo district this month. According to the data collected on the field, it means that at least 15,000 more people have now access to clean water, many of them are young children. Borehole users are also involved in community sensitization programme and in the monitoring so our project partner can always have the most up-to-date information from each and every boreholes. Rwandans4Water have complied a fantastic video of their ongoing work in the district which also features the projects we are working on together, please have a look!
On Sunday 12th July, our project partners Vita conducted a local stakeholder consultation for the upcoming clean water projects to be included in the co2balance GS1247 PoA in Zoba Maekal, Eritrea. These are first of its kind Gold Standard clean water VPAs in Eritrea. At the meeting there were over 130 participants which included the local district administrators, representatives of the WASH committee, and experts from water source departments, and members of the local communities.
Mr. Yemane Abai, Director General of Agriculture and Land in Zoba Maekal gave an opening speech saying that the proposed borehole rehabilitiation will play an important role for supplying clean drinking water particularly in rural areas. He expressed his gratitude towards Vita and co2balance as they shall support development of Eritrean communities by repairing broken hand pumps. He reminded members of communities that they shall endeavour to work alongside Vita and co2balance in fostering a collective sense of responsibility for the new repaired boreholes, to achieve inclusive and sustained long term future prosperity in the region.
The local stakeholder meeting formally begins the new Vita and co2balance partnership borehole VPAs in Eritrea and we are excited about what our future work will hold. Watch the space for updates and photos from the field.
Our partner organisation, Rwandans4Water has successfully rehabilitated the first boreholes in Gatsibo district as a part of our Gold Standard Micro-Scale VPA. The work is still on-going but we are happy to be able to share the first photos on our blog! Well done Rwandans4Water!
Last week we received confirmation from the Gold Standard that our first 4 micro scale borehole projects in Malawi had been Listed. This is a land mark in what has been a slow moving project but one that carries an enormous amount of potential.
The project aims to improve access to clean water in one of the world’s poorest countries, ranked 160th out of 182 in the Human Development Index. In fact according to the United Nations about 74% of the population still lives below the poverty line of $1.25 a day and an incredible 90% are below the $2 a day threshold.
On top of this Malawi is considered a water stressed country with less than 1,700m3 of fresh water per capita. This problem is amplified by remarkable population growth, especially in its urban areas. Future water demand projections predict that Malawi will fall to less than 1,000 m3 of fresh water per capita as early as 2015.
Against this back drop only 65% of Malawi’s population has access to improved water and sanitation. Therefore to achieve its 2015 MDG targets more than 6 million additional people will require access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
Our projects are playing a small but vital role in helping Malawi meet its MDG targets and we have now repaired more than 60 boreholes which are currently providing communities with clean and safe water, while also helping to avoid current and future GHG emissions.