By Fortune Moyo (Media and Publications Officer)
The Empandeni and Embakwe communities have taken their advocacy issue – access to clean water further. A feasibility study has been carried by a water consultant so as to find out specific borehole and well sites that could be resuscitated for the use of the community.
Habakkuk Trust has been working with the communities of Empandeni (ward 1) and Embakwe (ward 13) in Mangwe District as part of the Local Level Capacity Building Programme.
A detailed report of all the water points has been compiled and the findings are that a total number of 68 water points have been visited and assessed. These water points comprise of 36 wells and 32 boreholes. Of the 36 wells, 28 have (at least some) water, while 8 are dry. Four wells have working hand pumps, while 23 hand pumps are out of order. One well with water had no hand pump. The percentage of wells with working hand pumps is 14%.
There are 25 boreholes with water and 12 pumps working, which represent 48% (boreholes-with-working pumps). Of the 7 boreholes that are recorded as dry, 4 have been vandalized and could have yielded water before they were vandalized. In other words there could have been 29 functional boreholes and 41% functional hand pumps.
Some of the hand pumps that are out of order seem to have only minor problems yet there is no evidence that efforts have been made to carry out the necessary repairs or to identify the parts needed. On the other hand there is substantial evidence of what seems to be vandalism (cover slabs thrown into wells; stones thrown into boreholes), while in some instances there are signs of lack of repairing skills (pipes dropped, rods disconnected).
The report stated that it would be helpful to identify and interview the pump minders. But there are also signs that the water point committees might not be active. It is strongly recommended to further probe and investigate why so many hand pumps are out of order and why so many fences and aprons are not well maintained.
It should be noted that the deep wells have been equipped with hand pumps that have 12mm pump rods and 1.5 inch pipes. The District Development Fund (DDF) does not stock these sizes, as the boreholes are usually fitted with 16mm rods and 2 inch pipes. It might therefore be a good idea to modify the deep well hand pumps to take 16mm rods.
Before efforts are made to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the water points that are not operational, an assessment should be made of the capacity of the DDF (Water Section), as well as the ability of the pump minders to carry out the necessary repairs and associated works.
It is Habakkuk Trust’s goal that after the communities have been equipped with the assessment report, the organisation then assists them in taking their issues further to the relevant stakeholders, who can assist them with resuscitating the various water points.