Introducing the pilot projects
Shengping village in the Qinlian region, with its 3 200 inhabitants, is almost ten times the size of Nahupo. It has both a well and a water treatment plant, which makes it better off than many other rural villages in Guangxi. However, there are problems with the water quality of the existing well. It is located at the bottom of Xingdao Lake Reservoir that often floods in the rainy season. This frequently causes well water to be contaminated with river water. As the reservoir water is polluted at an earlier point by trash, fertilizers, and pesticides, the quality of the water going through the Shengping well is relatively poor. In addition, rainwater, dirt, and mud enter the well during heavy rains.
The poor quality of village water could, in theory, be improved in the water treatment plant that was built in 2009. The problem is that it is run by a staff of one who has not been trained to operate it properly and according to its original design. Water runs through the plant without any treatment, and the purification system no longer functions because it is constantly being over-loaded with excessive sediments such as dirt and mud. Not being able to clean the water that flows into the treatment plant adds to the plight of Shengping residents.
Building a functioning network
The project team opted to deepen the current well from 6 metres to 20 metres in order to improve water quality and to allow for more storage and flow capacity. We will also renovate the water treatment plant by repairing broken equipment, cleaning the building, clearing the land around it, and setting up regulations for operating the plant. Combined with basic chemical systems, the goal of this work is to reach an acceptable level of water purity. 4 800 metres of new water pipes, funded together with the villagers and local government, will also be laid. These pipes will direct the water from the plant into people’s homes; and not only the homes of the 2 000 residents that are already connected to the currently malfunctioning water supply network, but also the homes of 200 people in a new village that will be added to the network. We want to make sure that the water treatment plant can benefit Shengping residents for years to come. To achieve this, the prompt collection of water fees from the villagers is essential. Currently, some villagers are reluctant to pay these fees because the water is of such poor quality. This has resulted in inadequate coverage of the operational costs of the plant which, in its turn, has made it even more challenging to keep the water clean. The fees are also used to pay for the wages of plant staff. Once the water quality problems have been dealt with, and the plant staff has been trained to operate the plant appropriately, Shengping residents will be more willing to pay the water fees. This will also result in increased income for plant personnel.
Access to clean water at home
We hope that these efforts will not only allow access to clean water but also make life easier for Shengping area residents. They will no longer need to work the water pump or carry water home. Having access to clean water at home will facilitate the everyday workload of villagers, and women in particular, as they carry out most household chores requiring water. Our blog will follow Shengping on its path to clean water. Please check back by following the tag “Shengping.”