Fresh ideas for water

Water SupplyBuilding

Fair shares with plastic pipes 

by Rus Alit.

While I was working in Indonesia in the village of Sarinbuana with rural water supplies, a neighbouring village came up with their own interesting idea.

The villagers of Gempinis found a flowing spring about four miles up the mountain. Together they raised enough money to buy sufficient plastic piping. To reduce costs, they didn’t buy sockets to connect the pipes together. Instead they simply heated an end of one pipe in a fire. Then they quickly inserted the end of another pipe. When it hardened, the joint proved wonderfully watertight.

Within weeks the villagers had plenty of water flowing down the pipe into the village to a central point. Everyone agreed this was far better than their old practice of walking down a long path to the river and hauling water back up.

Still the new system was not without its problems. As the women queued in a long line for their turn at collecting a bucketful, the heat, the crowd and the wait occasionally resulted in a quarrel developing. Sometimes these became quite heated. Then someone came up with an improved water distribution system.

They placed a piece of large sized bamboo, nearly 10cm in diameter and 2 metres high, firmly in the ground in a central place. With simple tools they drilled a line of several holes of equal diameter and piped the water into this pole. They used small diameter plastic hoses to channel water from these holes to each house. Because the holes were drilled in a level line, each house received the same amount of water.

These good ideas quickly spread, and within months, plastic pipework criss-crossed many other villages in the area. The villagers gained great satisfaction from their work.

Hand-augered Garden Wells by Jonathan Naugle

Lutheran World Relief has been working with gardeners in Niger since 1978. In 1988 they began introducing hand-augered wells to gardens thoughout Niger. These wells are adaptable, low cost and easy to build in good soil conditions. They may not be appropriate in hard, rocky soil or where the water table is very low. A typical well can be installed to a depth of ten metres in less than six hours. The cost involved is mainly the cost of the PVC casing, which in Niger costs about US$15 per metre.

The building of the well begins with the use of an auger to drill through the soil. After every half metre, the auger is raised and the soil removed from it. Extensions to the auger shaft are added in stages to allow drilling to continue until the water table is reached. When this happens, the bottom of the hole will begin to collapse. This will be noticed by those drilling, because the auger will be at a higher level when it is replaced in the hole. At this point, casing needs to be installed. Drilling continues inside the casing using a smaller auger until at least 3 metres depth into the water table. This will ensure that the well is not likely to dry up in the dry season.

This is a very simplified account of a booklet produced by the Lutheran World Federation. The booklet contains full details of how to build hand-augered wells and technical information about how to produce and use the necessary tools and casing. If you feel you could make use of this valuable information, write to Lutheran World Relief with information about your work...

Lutheran World Relief, BP 11624, Niamey, Niger, W Africa.

An additional manual, Hand-drilled Wells by Bob Blankwaardt, is another excellent guide on the building of these wells.
Published by... RWRI, PO Box 35059, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Meeting Place

In the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, a hydraulic ram was installed to bring piped water into the village of Alkena.

The women were freed from the hard work of climbing down to the river and carrying up the family water supplies. The village had clean water and it was generally agreed that the new arrangement was very helpful.

However, several months later, there was one group in the village who were very unhappy about the changes. The young people of the village told a visitor how they now had nowhere to carry out their courting! The young girls used to collect water in the early evening. This was when they could meet and talk with the young men without their elders watching and listening. Now this opportunity was lost.

Even the simplest changes can have unexpected results!