Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 210 people of Emutetemo struggle to access sufficient water from the community's partially protected spring, which they rely on as their primary water source. The spring is deceiving because it provides plenty of water, but the water quality is untrustworthy, causing community members to suffer from water-related illnesses from drinking water that is not adequately filtered.

"The waterpoint is a partially protected spring with some water seepage on the right wing wall and floor. The stairwell of the water point is completely cracked, and the drawing area is flooded. The discharge pipe is eroded and has algae all around the discharge pipe mouth," said our field officer Joy Ongeri while describing the condition of the spring current primary water source.

With crumbling stairs, algae growth, and a flooded spring box, the less-than-ideal physical condition of the spring, people waste their valuable time waiting to collect water, especially during the busy morning and evening collection times. And sadly, that is not the only issue. Since people must stand in stagnant water to collect, community members report that they suffer from various skin rashes.

"Skin irritations and throat irritation are some of the illnesses related [to] drinking this water. [There is] overcrowding during the morning or evening and even [the] dry seasons," said 50-year-old farmer Sophie Mukone, shown above collecting water.

"When I go to fetch water, I pass through ditches [that] are hard to pass and jump because I am young. Also, I [have] had skin reactions, and [my] legs crack due to the stagnant water at the drawing point," said 10-year-old Peter E., shown below at the spring.

Proper spring protection will enable people like Sophie and Peter to drink water without fear that it will make them ill and make the task of collecting water a more pleasant, faster experience. This will allow them to reserve their energy for improving their daily lives instead.

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

June, 2024: Emutetemo Community Spring Protection Complete!

Emutetemo Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed their spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. We also 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 the completion of their spring protection!

"As a farmer, I depend on my crops and vegetables for income and this water will help me farm much easier and have bountiful harvests and help in my livestock and poultry farming. My children and grandchildren will be able to draw water from the waterpoint much easier and faster with no skin irritation from any stagnant water and even save them time to get to school or have time for study so that they can improve on their grades," shared farmer Sophia Mukone.


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

"With water being reliable and in plenty, this will reduce the congestion and long queues at the spring, making it easier for me to access water much easier and save time for me to get to school or go to study. This water will improve my cleanliness and health. When at home, I rear my father's livestock and get to do some agricultural farming; with this water, my father's livestock will be well taken care of and [I] will improve our personal and household cleaning," said 15-year-old Michael.


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 gather materials.

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.

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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Community members plant grass.

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. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Field Officer Joy Ongeri shared, "The water user committee and community members together with the children were present during the handing-over ceremony and they were all very glad and full of smiles. They all celebrated because now they get to access clean and safe water with no long queues. [After all], water that used to seep through the wing wall is now coming out through the discharge pipe. The chairperson, Mama Nipher gave a speech to appreciate the Water Project and Friends of Timothy Foundation for the good opportunity they have been given to access a well-constructed spring in their community and she continued by thanking us for [the] good work we are doing to provide clean and safe water to communities."

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 Adelaide Nasimiyu, Joy Ongeri, Mercy Wamalwa, [and] Mercy Odongo deployed to the site to lead the event. Ten people attended the training, including eight women and two men.

Soapmaking training.

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.

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.

A crucial topic covered in the training sessions was soapmaking. Field Officer Joy shared, "The community members were able to actively take part in making the soap and they had their notebooks and pens to write down all the ingredients and how the soap is made."

Community members were eager to share what impacted them the most.

"The [other] community members and I were eager and curious to learn the soapmaking process. I even wrote down the steps and ingredients of making it so that when I do it again on my own I [can] refer to my notes. [When we discussed] personal hygiene, I gave my opinion and honest view on how I do my cleanliness and even got to listen [to] what our trainer had to say on the right approach," said John Manyasi, a 54-year-old security officer.

John in the newly protected spring.


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!

April, 2024: Emutetemo Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Emutetemo 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)