Water project - Progress January 2016

The village of Abeka is on the hillside rising from the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The community hospital is above the village.  At present the women of the village collect water from the lake or from streams, both of which are polluted. Water for the hospital is collected from the corrugated roofs of the buildings.

When the Nundu Health District inspected the hospital they were concerned about the lack of a piped water supply. On average each month the hospital treats over 100 cases of malaria, about 80 cases of typhoid and about 60 people with severe diarrhoea. Clearly the provision of a clean water supply is very important. Plans for providing clean water were drawn up more than 10 years ago, but there was then no funding, so no work was undertaken.

We have been supporting the hospital and two other projects in the village for the last seven years, and have been aware of the need for clean water. After a visit in 2014 we decided that we must try to raise the money to make this possible. We were very concerned that the people of the village should be actively involved in the project, so that they would use it sensibly and look after it well afterwards. They agreed to set up a water committee, and chose a local water engineer who submitted detailed plans and estimates for the first two stages of the project.

The three stages of the project are:
1. Tapping three springs on the hills high above the village and piping the water down to a small pressure-balancing tank and then to a larger lower tank. The springs are about 4.5km from the lower tank, and about 7km from the village. The total drop in height is over 100m.
2. Piping the water from the lower tank to both the hospital and to standpipes in the village.
3. Distributing water within the hospital, and the provision of washbasins, showers, a sink and more latrines. Also provision for the disposal of waste water.

Plan for the distribution of water to the hospital and the village

Profile of the pipeline, showing the upper tank (BC) and the lower tank (R)

Progress: Work commenced in August 2015. We requested, and were willing to pay for, an independent engineer to oversee the project, and he has sent regular reports on the progress.

In the first four months pipes were laid from the springs to the upper balancing tank, this tank itself was constructed and pipes laid across rough ground down the hill to the lower tank. In December and January the large lower tank was constructed of reinforced concrete. At the time of the latest report this was ready to be tested with water before being covered. Pipes from this tank to the hospital were also being installed.

Stages in the construction of the lower tank

First flow of water from the pipe

Trench being dug to the hospital

Finance: We have already sent $99,500 (£67,498) for the project. This money has been raised by donations from meetings and from individuals, and by grants from the Radley Trust and from QPSW. We have received copies of the receipts for all the expenditure on the project, for both materials and wages, so we have been able to monitor the spending. 

The costs so far have been about 15% higher than the original estimates. This has resulted from an increase in the price of materials locally, and also from weather conditions leading to the work taking significantly longer than expected.

The expenditure on Stage 1 has been about $84,000. Stage 2 is estimated to cost about $27,700 so we still need to send about $15,500 (c. £11,200). We have not yet received an updated estimate for Stage 3, but an estimate made in 2013 came to about $10,000 (c. £7150)