The lack of clean drinking water and irrigation systems is a major contributor to poverty in Africa. Only 56 percent of rural and 78 percent of urban households in Senegal have access to clean drinking water. Many people have to walk several kilometers daily for water. Only 8.9 percent of cultivated land in Senegal is irrigated and lack of reliable water resources is a major barrier to reforestation efforts in the country. By providing a sustainable, low maintenance source of clean water for households, irrigation, and livestock, water systems powered with renewable energy can drastically improve the quality of life and economic viability of Senegalese communities.
In 2009/2010 Yermande began a three-phase project to build a solar powered clean water system for Ndiguel Ndaiye Village, where water shortage has been a constant struggle. We completed the first phase of the project by re-digging and repairing the village water well. The entire village water supply came from a hand-dug 150 foot deep cement-lined well. This well has served the village for nearly twenty years, but a growing village population and dropping water table meant that it could no longer provide for the village needs. Yermande hired a crew of local well workers, and with the help of the villagers, we were able to re-dig and repair the well. The well can now produce enough water to support the village population and Yermande’s reforestation efforts for the near future.
In 2010/2011 Yermande completed the second phase of the water project by installing a solar powered water pumping system in the village. The system consists of seven solar power modules and a submersible well pump, which runs both on DC and AC power. The system will provide up to 3500 gallons of clean water per day to the village cisterns as long as the sun shines, free of cost, for many years into the future.
The water from the well is presently pumped through P.V.C. pipes to a series of in-ground concrete cisterns throughout the village. Village residents pull water from the cisterns with buckets attached to short ropes, and then carry it on their heads, sometimes hundreds of yards to their houses. Several of the cisterns are more than twenty years old and are cracked and leaking. Malarial mosquitoes lay their eggs in the standing water and the constant dipping of buckets leads to more contamination. This year we are preparing for the final phase of this project - the construction of a small water tower to provide water pressure and a simple distribution system of plumbing and faucets to supply clean water throughout the village.
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