As the world has struggled to contain the mounting water shortages that confront many regions, a variety of approaches have been tried. At Water for Good, we set out to follow in the footsteps of those organizations that have been successful in tackling the huge problems inherent in operating in remote regions, but we knew we’d need to put our own spin on it if we wanted to be successful.

Small Solar Powered Tank Systems:

When we launched the baseline study, we traveled to many remote locations where the only viable water infrastructure would be the standard manual pump found throughout the region. However, one of the unique challenges that the Central African Republic poses is the clustered nature of the population–both diffuse and yet with too many population centers to make manual pumps efficient. With the launch of the baseline study, we hoped to discover possible alternatives that would result in a more efficient allocation of donor contributions and a more convenient system for the villagers themselves. Happily, we found just such a method in Small Solar Powered Tank Systems. (make this pop) 

HAPPILY, WE FOUND JUST SUCH A METHOD IN SMALL SOLAR POWERED TANK SYSTEMS. 

Instead of relying on clusters of hundreds of additional manual pumps, Small Solar Powered Tank Systems are preferred for a few key reasons. An excerpt from one of our internal studies puts it best: “1.) Solar pumping systems have the potential to provide safer water and a better service that generates higher water use per person and greater willingness to pay, 2.) when population density allows for it, solar pumping has a lower estimated average cost per person for the direct capital expenditures 3.) The lifecycle cost breaking point when solar is estimated to be more cost effective than multiple boreholes with manual pumping in CAR is thought to be in any community with 900-1000 people that would need 3 – 4 boreholes. However, in the implementation phase, not all sites identified as suitable for solar pumping systems and some sites targeted for manual pumps may be upgraded to solar pumping systems.”

WASH STRATEGIES:

WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) strategies continue to develop. One of the most exciting results of the baseline study has little to do with the actual results and everything to do with the way that they can be used. What does this mean? It means that since Water for Good has finished the baseline study, interest has been high in conducting similar studies, and Water for Good has been able to share the information we’ve gleaned with the local government in the Central African Republic. 

Active cooperation with local government and exploring the extent to which NGOs like Water for Good can help strengthen states in order to help strengthen water infrastructure is an exciting new way to view the water crisis. And we’re not the only ones who think so! IRC WASH is holding a number of events moving through November to explore the variety of approaches that can be taken to solving these crises. Water for Good’s own David de Armey will even be participating. Make sure to check out their full calendar to learn more. 

The Utility Approach:

Water for Good’s public utility style approach continues to improve. Our goal of having a 30 minute round trip collection time, increasingly more responsive teams when there is a breakdown, and water quality that has been tested at national labs is possible in part through an increasingly focussed and strategic model. In the coming years, we’re confident that this approach will continue to become more efficient.  

As always, your continued support allows us to pursue efficiencies in providing lasting clean water to the Central African Republic.