The time has come to wrap up our Water Stewardship Project. All pilot projects have been finished and audits completed. Water monitoring has been conducted and awareness raising events organised. But of course, this is only the beginning.
The Guangxi villages of Nahupo, Shengping, and Baimei now have new water management systems in place, helping nearly 2 600 people to have better access to clean water. Forty-three locals were employed by the pilot projects, generating a total income of over EUR 60 000. Since April 2015, a total of 12.7 kilometres of water and sewage piping have been laid, and wetlands and water storage tanks built. Villagers were also trained in how to maintain the new facilities and equipment in the long run, and how to develop new business possibilities.
Streets cleared of wastewater
In Nahupo, the artificial wetland, septic tanks, and over 2 000 metres of new sewage piping have brought visible change in water quality. Wastewater is now collected through the piping and directed through the septic tanks and wetland before it is recycled back into nature. The villagers have been impressed with how much cleaner their wastewater is and are happy about not having untreated wastewater flowing into their fishpond.
Better access to clean water
Shengping’s water supply facility received a make-over and improved equipment, and can now contribute to the village’s goal to be as self-sufficient as possible. The village well, which used to be frequently contaminated with polluted river water, was deepened to 20 metres to allow for easier access to clean groundwater. Almost 5 kilometres of new water pipes have been laid, connecting a total of 2 200 local residents to the renovated water supply plant and bringing clean water to their homes – 200 of whom were added to this network during the Water Stewardship Project.
Shengping residents are happy with the results – being able to trust the quality of their water has been the most significant improvement.
Sufficient water supply
Baimei village struggled with low water supply, especially during the summer and special events. During the project, nearly 5 kilometres of piping was constructed to direct water from another natural spring in a nearby mountain, and three water storage tanks ranging from 3 to 50 cubic metres were built.
To treat the increased wastewater likely to follow the increased water supply and consumption, an artificial wetland was also built. Baimei faced challenges with setting some of the wetland channels and turned to Nahupo for advice – a great example of knowledge sharing. Baimei villagers also received training in how to extend their main livelihood poultry breeding, and thanks to a sufficient supply of water, they have already been able to start building a second chicken coop which will double the production. Residents were additionally given advice in preparing for potential future tourism into the village.
All systems and solutions that were put in place in Nahupo, Shengping, and Baimei are easy to use and do not require complicated maintenance or special skills.
“I was really pleased to be able to visit the three villages in November 2015 and see for myself the constructions in place and how they serve the local people,” says Tomas Biström, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Kemira. “The locals welcomed me warmly and showed their hospitality. I watched the new systems in operation and saw the results: better access to clean water and more efficient and responsible wastewater treatment. To an outsider, the systems can seem quite simple, but I believe they are well-suited for the rural context, and do what they’re expected to do. I hope to go back one day and see them still up and running.”
Proud of the results – excited for the future
A survey conducted to learn if the villagers themselves were happy with the project and its results revealed very high satisfaction. In addition, water monitoring conducted by our partner Guangxi Marine Environmental Monitoring Station (GMEM) revealed that water quality in the pilot villages has improved.
Auditors have also been pleased with the results: “As the project’s auditors, we have been very happy with the way that Stora Enso and Kemira have communicated with local people openly about the project plans,” says May Huang from the auditing company Bureau Veritas China. “We found that the two companies have truly taken the needs and concerns of local villagers into account.”
“Active engagement with local residents has been essential in making this project a success,” says Noel Morrin, Stora Enso’s EVP for Sustainability. “The results have been very positive, and we look forward to learning more about the long-term benefits.”
Indeed, the Water Stewardship Project has not come to an end. This is only the beginning.
This post concludes the regular publication of project updates. The website will remain a hub for project information, and we will add any possible future news and developments.