Thursday, May 29, 2008

Access to safe water is key to a healthy life

ADRA IHFS project has established a gravity-fed water supply system from a spring source in Nseula Village, T/A Dambe in Neno District. The water supply serves a population of approximately 1085 people.

Construction of the water supply system started in September 2007 and it has taken the project about 7 months to complete the project. The process started with an assessment of the area by the Water Engineer from the Ministry of Water Development who also assisted in the structural designing of the project. After several sensitization meetings, the community mobilized and constructed the pipeline, but also molded bricks and collected raw materials like sand for the project. ADRA provided other materials like cement and pipes as well as the technical expertise.

The system is composed of an intake that was constructed down stream of the spring eye, about 859 meters away from the demand area, a transmission line and storage tank of 6 cubic meters. The end points are 3 communal taps which are now supplying potable water at about 0.5 litres per second on each tap.

Water quality testing and an environmental impact assessment was and the recommendations made from these assessments have been adopted by the project and community members responsible for maintenance of the system.

To ensure sustainability of the water supply system, a Community Based Management Committee (CBM) and 3 water point committees have been trained in various aspects of water point management and maintenance, as well as health and sanitation. The committees have agreed on a small fee paying system for them to be able to buy small parts to maintain the system. Nevertheless, the project will be handed over to Department of Water Development under the Neno district assembly for continued monitoring and support to the community.

The gravity water system has significantly transformed the quality of life for the people of the Nseula Village. Previously, they used to get drinking water from an unsafe point along the stream, which was potentially hazardous. According to the water engineers that have been involved in the project, if well maintained, the Nseula water supply can serve the area for a period of not less that 20 years without any major problems.

Author: Thokozani Mwapasa

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