Water is Life

“Children pass away every minute because they don’t have access to clean water.”

 (Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Water, Republic of Uganda).


Children collecting dirty water from a local waterhole
One of the UN’s Millennium Goals is to cut in half the number of people without access to clean water by the year 2015. The latest statistics show that Sub-Saharan Africa has failed to achieve this increase, and it is in fact fallen further and further behind, especially in rural areas.

CEED’s Fresh Water Project is centered in the town of Hoima, which is in the Bunyoro-Kitara region in Great Rift Valley geological system. CEED has been working in this region since 1999 and has made an in-depth study of the many factors that have resulted in a water and health crisis for this rural population.

The water crisis and the accompanying health crisis in Uganda are caused as much by cultural as physical reasons. In the past ten years the Ugandan Government and many major charities have drilled hundreds of wells throughout the rural regions and yet the people are still without clean water. The CEED Fresh Water Project is taking a new approach to this problem with innovative engineering solutions and pilot projects which encourage communities to be proactive in solving their own water problems.

In rural Uganda, village populations have outgrown their initial water sources and fetching and purifying water has become a burdensome task that takes up many precious hours every day. Women and children walk miles to find water for their families. Often they draw polluted water from a stream or pond that they share with cattle and wild animals. After a long day at school, children as young as 4 or 5 drag jerry cans of water (weighing approx 45 pounds) and risk their lives as they scurry along the dirt roads amidst speeding trucks and impatient taxi drivers. Although people know they should boil the water for at least fifteen minutes, as night draws near they become inpatient. Often they have had nothing to drink all day and they no loner have the energy to gather firewood to boil the water, or the patience to wait for it to cool, so they drink the polluted water or continue to stay dehydrated. Whichever they choose, the cycle of sickness continues.
Operating the hydraulic rig

CEED’s first task was to find a way to drill new wells (“boreholes”) for less than the typical $10,000 most non-governmental agencies charge. By using local labor provided by those who would benefit the most, and going back to simpler technologies of augers and percussion, we have been able to reduce the average cost to less than $5000 per borehole. When the simpler methods are inadequate, we are able to use the hydraulic rig which was donated to CEED. The hydraulic rig costs more to use, and we must first find water to use it, but in many places, the terrain requires it.

Our third task has been to employ a Ugandan manager to oversee all the new drilling, repair work and village committee communications. Our manager has trained a crew of Ugandan “water engineers” who refurbish inoperative wells and operate the hydraulic rig to develop new ones. To date (July 2017) we have drilled or rehabbed more than 150 boreholes, used by more than 200,000 people. And the team is still working.

There are many challenges; so many villages without clean water, terrain that is often difficult to drill through, lack of education. Matthew 10:42 says, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (NIV) If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact our office at 412-889-6642.

Clean water!