Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 245 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The community of Buloma is made up of 245 people who face a daily struggle to access safe water. Although their spring was once protected, it is now in hazardous disrepair, leaving community members vulnerable to contamination and waterborne illnesses.

Field Officer Adelaide Nasimiyu shared,  "Most people who use this water for drinking have suffered from different illness[es]. Some have had diarrhea, others Typhoid and some have had stomachaches. If you have to drink this water, you have to boil or chlorinate [it] before drinking, but because of [a] lack of money, some of the users are forced to drink untreated water."

"This water is not very clean; if you drink it direct from the source, you become sick. Many people have been diagnosed with Typhoid, diarrhea, and stomach-related diseases. One has to treat [it] with chlorine for the water to be safe for drinking," said farmer Rehema Ashioya, 34, pictured below.

But contamination isn't the waterpoint's only problem.

Due to the leakage in the spring walls, the amount of water discharged from the pipe is slower than normal. Consequently, people must wait in long queues to fill their Jerricans as it takes considerable time. Some individuals must make up to ten daily trips to collect enough water for their daily needs. This makes it a full-time task to acquire unsafe water, which poses a significant risk to the community members.

"Fetching water is not one of my favorite house chores at home. Most of the time, when fetching water, you get a long queue at the water point. This makes you waste a lot of time at the water point. The time wasted I [could] use to study instead of wasting it in sitting and waiting for my turn to draw water," said Nuzra N., 12, pictured below collecting water.

When community members are forced to wait in long lines to collect contaminated water, they aren't only risking their health. Most people in the Buloma Community are farmers, so their time is precious. Any time not spent farming is taking away from their livelihoods. They lose out on accruing crucial resources and must use funds on medication to treat waterborne illnesses instead of making progress.

Buloma Community members need access to safe, clean water. To improve their lives, they need the tools and uncontaminated water is a good first step.

Protecting the Buloma Community spring will enable Rehema to focus on tending her farm instead of wasting her time and precious resources on sickness and medication. And Nuzra can use the time she once spent waiting in line for water on her education, allowing her the opportunity to dream of a better future for herself.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Chlorine Dispensers

Installing chlorine dispensers is an important piece of our spring protection projects. Protecting a spring provides community members with an improved water source, but it doesn’t prevent contamination once the water is collected and stored. For example, if the water is clean and the container is dirty, the water will become contaminated.

We ensure that each chlorine dispenser is filled with diluted chlorine on a consistent schedule so that people can add pre-measured drops to each container of water they collect. That way, community members can feel even more confident in the quality of their water.

Project Updates

May, 2024: Buloma Community Spring Protection Complete!

Buloma Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, their spring transformed into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. We installed a chlorine dispenser to provide added protection and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

Community members celebrate!

35-year-old Rehema Ashioya shared how easy water access will impact her life, "Being a farmer, the plants need water. The availability of water will make it easy to grow more crops to sell. Educating children becomes easier with the availability of income."


"The waterpoint has made it easier to access water, hence no more contamination which led to diseases like bilharzia because the water is now clean, and safe for consumption," said Rehema.

Children were just as excited as adults about the new water point.

"I will be able to learn and concentrate more in school because there will be no more water-related issues. My school attendance will go high. Also, my parents will have more income to educate me, since they can plant more crops, due to the availability of water," shared 16-year-old Talia.


Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carry all locally available construction materials to the spring. These included bricks, sand, stones, and fencing poles. Some people also chiseled away at large rocks to break them into gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

Community members collecting supplies.

When the community was ready, we sent a truck to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels around the construction site from the spring's eye. This allowed water to flow without disrupting community members' tasks or the construction work. Excavation created space for setting the spring's foundation, made of thick plastic, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement.

Laying the foundation.

After establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs. Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact, which prevents cross-contamination.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring's eye, back pressure could force water to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members would not be able to access the water easily. We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when the clay is in short supply) and placed it at an incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

Wall construction.

We then cemented and plastered both sides of the headwall and wing walls. These finishing layers reinforce the brickwork and prevent water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, enough pressure builds in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.

As the headwall and wing walls cured, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water's erosive force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Constructing the stairs.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. Then we redirected the temporary diversion channels back into the reservoir box, channeling water into this area for the first time. We close all other exits to force water through only the discharge pipe.

We filled the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with thick plastic to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

Reinforcing the backfill area.

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. The collection area was fenced to discourage any person or animal from walking on it. Compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

Grass planting.

The construction process took about two weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as the spring was ready, people got the okay from their local field officers to fetch water.

We officially handed over the spring to mark the community's ownership of the water point. The water users sang songs of praise and thanksgiving as they surrounded the spring. Women ululated as happiness filled the air. Their faces lit up with joy as they continued to sing and dance.

Training on Health, Hygiene, and More

Together with the community, we found their preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events, such as the agricultural season and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training and relay the information learned to the rest of their families and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Joyce, Joy, Jackie, Isaac, Hillary, Mercy, David, Mercy. deployed to the site to lead the event. 30 people attended the training, including 25 women and 5 men.

Training begins!

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal, dental, and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; spring maintenance; the importance of primary health care and disease prevention; family planning; soapmaking; how to make and use handwashing stations; and the ten steps of handwashing.

Spring management lesson.

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

Soapmaking was a popular and informative session for the community members. They learned how to make it at home, giving them the tools to improve hygiene in their families. With this new skill, they can add to their income as well, by selling the soap they can easily make!

Learning how to make soap. (Albashir is in the white and red shirt).

When asked what he found most intriguing, carpenter Albashir Echesa said, "Soap making. It is a new topic and I was interested in learning more. [Our] level of hygiene will increase, due to the soapmaking training."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. When an issue arises concerning the spring, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately and there is guaranteed public access in the future. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we’re working toward complete coverage. That means reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

March, 2024: Buloma Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Buloma Community costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

Project Photos

Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!


1 individual donor(s)