Our vision is that clean water can change the lives of people and whole communities. The three primary kinds of projects being done are: 1) New boreholes and hand dug wells, 2) Mechanized Water Systems, and 3) Repaired Wells. We prioritized where this work was done based on the highest incidence of disease. The primary disease was Guinea Worm Disease until it was eradicated in Ghana in 2011. In 2012 and beyond, the priority disease will be Buruli Ulcer in Ghana. We are also planning a humanitarian grant for 2012-2013 in South Sudan to drill boreholes and repair wells there so that we can work with the Carter Center to eradicate Guinea Worm from the world.
1) New Boreholes and Hand Dug Wells are the key way we provide clean water. Boreholes are usually drilled in locations where a drill rig can be used. We use two main drill rigs which impact the cost of the borehole. The smaller drill rig can get to more remote locations without getting stuck and the cost is about $5,000 to $7,000. The big, industrial drill rig will go through rock and more difficult terrain, but the cost is $10,000 to $15,000 per borehole. The hand dug wells are very important in communities where the roads don't exist to bring in the large drill rigs. The hand dug wells also are more successful in certain areas of Ghana where the bigger drill rigs are not able to go. We use the standard pumps such as Afridev and Niri so that maintenance is easier. We tried rope pumps, but they are not a good idea in large cities and mid-sized communities where the rope tends to wear out quickly.
2) Repaired Boreholes and Wells are probably the most cost effective way to provide a community with water. It can still be expensive to buy the pump parts especially for the hand dug wells. The concrete pad may need to be repaired. The handle will need parts. The pipe going down the borehole or well may be needed to be lengthened or replace where a break or cut in the pipe prevents the water from flowing.
3) Mechanized Water Systems are used in situations where the water is at a distance to a community or a school. Mechanized water systems are a lot more expensive and cost more to maintain. The mechanized water systems pump water from an existing high yield borehole to the center of a city or school. We've used electricity, solar and wind power to pump the water to the city center. We learned that electricity places a hardship on the community to pay the electrical bill each month. The solar cells are effective and yet they run the risk from theft. Wind power needs to be used where the wind studies prove that the necessary wind exists to pump the water. It also may be necessary to combine pump options so that the water flows when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow.
4) Other Water Projects include biosand filters, water purifiers, and rain catchment systems. We've implemented biosand filters in a few communities, but it is not a usual part of our projects. We've tried to find places where a water purifier can be operated successfully, but we haven't found the right place for the water purifier to be used successfully. Rain catchment is probably one of the projects that will be included more in the future. We also want to repair or build dams for reservoirs in areas where it is difficult to find water.
5) Sanitation and Hygiene will become a bigger part of our projects. Improper sanitation will destroy the quality of the water and the health of a community. Basic hygiene can also prevent disease and poverty. The lessons learned is that we don't have to built an expensive latrine to make a difference. We also don't have to build the most expensive hand washing stations to improve hygiene. We can include sanitation and hygiene if we explain how critical the need is to complement the clean water projects.
These projects show what can happen when people come together to make a difference. Someone asked Walter Hughes in 2005 how we could dig a well in Africa. We didn’t have the answer at the time, but that simple question turned into these projects. We have implemented a lot of different projects. Most of these projects involve people across the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Ghana. We are coming together to get things done. These grants were started in Virginia, New Hampshire, and in Ghana. The funds are providing over 232 new and repaired wells, 4 small town water systems, 54 household latrines, and medical care over the last four years. We fought to eradicate Guinea Worm. Ghana had 4,136 GWD cases in 2006. The last case of Guinea Worm Disease was found in May 2010! Rotary is impacting lives of 246,000 people in four regions.