Monday, November 13, 2006


Just a final thought before leaving Kitgum. Last night I had dinner with a local contracting group that drills water wells for most of the NGO's in Northern Uganda.

Water is clearly a popular priority for donors and so NGO's looking to satisfy their donors drill multiple holes in one community so as to ensure equitable access.

From my discussion, it seems that there may be a bunch of sustainability issues that need to be addressed with the current method of providing water into communities here.

First, these hand-pumps are limited in yield to the manual output of the community members pumping the water;

Second (to the sustainability issue) is that the contractors were telling me that they have significant evidence that the number of wells per village is depleting the water tables and they have quantitative evidence of this that I am hoping they will send to me.

If NGO's were to focus on building one mechanized well with adequate water storage, the yield from a mechanized unit would likely dramatically increase (because it reduces the physical pumping requirement) and would reduce the depletion of the water tables.

I suppose the argument here is that it would create long line-ups at a centralized water distribution and that people would have to walk further. I think these concerns could be mitigated / addressed by good logistical implementation.

Obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about. Just my uninformed, naive opinion but as I've often learned, sometimes the dumbest questions lead to the most innovative answers!

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