Project Status

Project Type:  Well Rehab

Program: Wells for Burkina Faso

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase: 
Under Community Care
Initial Installation: May 2012

Project Features

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Community Profile

Upon completion of the project, our implementing partner reported from the field...

This well was drilled in July 2009, and later installed with a pump in December. Sometime later, the water was observed to have red specks of sediment in it, it stained the concrete pad red, and gray splotches were appearing on the surface of the water, sometimes there was an odor to the water even. We first learned about this problem late in 2011, and by November we sent the 1st of 3 water samples to Ouagadougou for analysis. Results from the 1st sample revealed incredibly high iron levels. We pulled the old materials out of the well and found the galvanized metal pipes to be deteriorating at a rapid rate. We took a 2nd sample from within the well, and a 3rd after cleaning the well by pumping for more than an hour with a submersible pump. Both the 1st and 2nd water analysis revealed levels of iron that exceeded national norms for Burkina Faso. On the 2nd test, iron levels measured 5.30 mg/L whereas .30 mg/L is recommended safe level (that is 17 times higher than the acceptable level of iron in drinking water). After removal of the old rusty pipes and cleaning the well, the 3rd water sample tested .13 mg/L, safely within the parameters for potable water. Consumption of drinking water with high levels of iron can lead to iron overload causing damage to major organs, particularly people who carry the genetic disease hemochromatosis.

From November 2011 to April 2012, the last six months, the LWI Burkina Faso team has been in the process of diagnosing and solving a water contamination problem. Water analysis confirmed that the problem was the result of deteriorating metal pipes which were installed in the well, and not the water table itself. It was very sad and ironic to realize that a water well placed at a health clinic was actually leading people to get sick instead of healthy. Thus, it was also extremely gratifying to restore this as a clean water source with safe, potable water for the medical clinic to be able to effectively treat and care for the sick of Nakar. When the team arrived, community members were utilizing a river located one kilometer away from the community to meet all of their water needs. Because of this and the community’s practice of informal defecation, families were suffering from dysentery, typhoid and malaria. During the team’s stay, community members assembled a water committee consisting of seven men and one woman who assisted the team with the water project whenever possible. Most community members sustain their families by farming. The nearest school is located two kilometers away from the community whose students, teachers and administrative personnel all have access to the new, safe water source. Before leaving the community, the team provided community member, Achille Zongo, with a LWI Burkina Faso contact number in case their well were to fall into disrepair, become subject to vandalism or theft.

When the drill team returns to rehabilitate a well, the hygiene team reviews previously taught lessons: Hand washing, how to properly transport and store water, disease transmission and prevention, how to maintain proper care of the pump, as well as signs and symptoms of dehydration and how to make Oral Rehydration Solution. They also introduce possible additional lessons covering latrine perceptions, healthy nutritional choices, and review good and bad hygiene practices.

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Project Type

Well rehabilitation is one of the most cost effective ways to bring clean, safe water to a community.  Sometimes it involves fixing a broken hand pump, other times it means sealing a hand dug well to prevent it from being contaminated.  These repairs, and often time total replacements, coupled with sanitation and hygiene training make a huge impact in communities.