Where we work in South Omo Zone, Ethiopia, less than 30% of the people have access to clean water. When a new well is constructed, it is often overused and quickly breaks down. The new well we constructed in Bandira this spring is now used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by everyone in the surrounding area. This does not give the well sufficient time to recharge.
Overuse is just one of the challenges for new water schemes. Poured concrete, that protects the well, quickly cracks if proper construction techniques are not used. Wells that are not protected by fencing and proper sanitation practices become contaminated. Local government water offices are often challenged by the lack of capacity—budget, technical expertise, and transportation—and struggle to help when wells fail.
To reverse this trend, GTLI strives to build the capacity within the community itself to maintain their new clean water supply. We teach local contractors to perform standard concrete quality tests during construction. We provide extensive training for the Water User Association, made up of community members, facilitating the collection of water user fees and providing initial water scheme replacement parts so they can perform preventative maintenance.
Building the resiliency of these communities begins with sustainable clean water. Since 2010 GTLI has constructed or refurbished 127 water schemes and provided access to safe water for more than 102,000 people in the Dasenech, Hamer, BenaTsemay and Nyangatom kebeles. In order for everyone to have access to sustainable clean water, more wells need to be constructed.