Clean Water Spouts in the City of Gemena, DRC

Pete Ekstrand, Covenant missionary based in the DRC, takes us to the city of Gemena, where Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision is working with Congolese leaders to bring previously rare clean water to more and more people.

Animata getting water in Congo

Animata waiting for her jug to fill

Animata used to have to walk almost two miles to get water for her family, and she would do this three times a day.

Since the deep well water system in the Saza neighborhood has come online, she now only has to walk about 200 yards to get clean, safe water. It costs her 150 Congolese francs or about $0.16 for two 25-liter jugs of water. Her family uses four jugs per day.

She told me that she wants to come here because the water is good and clean, not like the water she used to get from the stream nearly two miles away.

Marie’s story is similar. She too would walk nearly two miles to get water. Here you see her taking off with the 25-liter jug, which weighs about 55 lbs, for her house, while also carrying her toddler.


Two Deep Water Wells Completed

Tank and solar array in Congo

103 cubic meter tank (~26,000 gal) and solar array

Thanks to the Ledia Project supported by Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision, 24,000 people now have daily access to clean, safe water in the city of Gemena.

Two of three planned deep wells have been completed. Water from each well is distributed through a system of eight water kiosks. The installation team buried about 3,500 meters of pipe 32” deep to connect the kiosks. Each kiosk is in a family’s yard and operated by them. As a thank you or payment to the family, they receive several bidons of water free each day.

Water kiosk in Gemena, DR Congo

Plans for the third well are moving forward. One company tried drilling, but hit rock they could not go through, and the well capacity was not adequate. World Vision is working with another company that has more powerful equipment to re-drill the well for the system. Each of the systems is solar powered.


Maintaining Water Wells for the Future

This woman is the president of one of the water management committees.

This woman is the president of one of the water management committees.

Each well and distribution system has a management committee. Think of your local water utility company on a much smaller scale. Trained by World Vision staff, the committee is responsible to determine their budget for the well’s operation.

During our visit, the president of one of the committees described to us the work they are doing. She emphasized that the system needs to be sustainable, that they need to plan now for it to last for a long time. The money they collect is deposited in a bank account and kept for maintenance.

She described how instead of talking about selling water, they are calling the fee collected a contribution for maintenance. They are working in the community to educate the population about why a maintenance contribution is important. I commented to one of the visitors that as hard and complicated as it was to install the well and distribution system, this “soft” work is the most critical.

An earlier version of this blog post previously appeared on Pete Ekstrand’s blog, Ekstrands in Congo. Used with permission.

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