Sunday, April 15, 2012

finding clean water supplies, siting latrines and thinking of power

climbing around on the hillside trying to find the
head of  a stream
Streams flow from the hill behind Ote village into the main river.  Arising out of the hillside and cliff there are no pollution sources except for soil and vegetation debris when flow is high in the rainy season.  Therefore we decided that these would provide the cleanest supply of water to the villagers.  The problems of debris and soil particles as well as the high flow in the wet season will have to be overcome as will the relatively low flow by the end of the dry season, but the streams do flow continuously all year round.  Because the river is quite dispersed with a group of houses at the river crossing and another about a mile downstream, more than one stream will have to be used.

in the dry season there is not much water in the streams that
arise out of the hillside cliffs

We do not know much about tapping into water sources, how to go about installing filters, a reservoir tank, piping and taps but intend to find out what the best available system would be that is affordable, safe and can deal with the variation in water flow.

houses are very simple and children do most of the work when the
dults are out farming for food
We also looked to site latrines in the main areas of the village.  The upper village is sited on a low river terrace and to place latrines there needs to be some height above the river water level in order for the pit to remain dry and aerated.  If waterlogged decomposition will not occur and the latrines will become unhealthy.  It appeared to us that the water could over-top the banks in the rainy season and when pressed on this the chief confirmed that it does happen, though not every year. However as more agricultural activity is occuring as the population is growing slowly, and commercial activities starting, the river will become more extreme and frequency of flooding is likely to increase.  The chief also confirmed there is already evidence of this.  A solution is to site latrines above the village on a higher terrace, but these would be too far from the dwellings to be used.  The chief therefore proposed that new building should only be allowed higher up the slope and the latrines go ahead in a higher location.  Since many of the houses are made of mud daub they have a limited lifespan and when renewal is needed, the opportunity can be taken to relocate upslope.  This was a considerable move in the thinking of the village to create a more healthy and sanitary living environment, but the villagers recognise their own health problmes and are seeking to improve the situation.  The ideas were confirmed at a village meeting later that day.

no sanitation exists in this village of about 300 people
Our task remains to link up with specialists in water provision and sanitation to find a solution that can be applied in this situation.

We decided that we could probably install some solar panels to power some lighting in the village we wish to sponsor in the village.  We have decided to investigate these when we get back to the towns or even in the uk.  We should be able to provide enough power for some lighting and even to charge some equipment.

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