October 21, 2019

Laying the foundations for improved access to water

A while ago we shared Surja’s story with you. Not only was a lack of water in her village of Sanneghari making her day-to-day life extremely tough, but it was also breaking up her family.

Thanks to our wonderful supporters, Sanneghari is now one of the 10 communities currently being supported in the third phase of our solar water pumping work. So we’re excited to share with you an update on the progress made to date in bringing clean and safe water to their community.

Construction work in full swing

Recent work has focused on construction of the distribution tank. The distribution tank is a key part of the solar water pumping system and is where water from the source is pumped to. It is strategically placed above the community and can store large amounts of water (Sannehgari’s tank has a capacity of 100m3), ensuring a reliable supply of water year-round.

To find out more about how a solar water pumping system works and exactly how the distribution tank fits into the overall design, take a look at our technology explained page.

Good progress is being made on the civil infrastructure of the system and as we now enter the drier winter months, the remainder of the civil infrastructure along with the actual solar pumping system can be installed. We expect it to be completed in the first half of 2020.

Climate-smart agriculture training

An important part of our solar water pumping programme is providing water for agricultural activities. Now this is not just about ensuring that there are tap stands within easy access of agricultural fields, we also provide training in climate-smart agriculture. We teach community members how to select and grow the most appropriate and high-value vegetables to support healthy nutrition and with the view that surplus crops can be sold at market to boost household income.

In the photos below you can see the plant nursery development training, preparations to transplant the young plants from the nursery to the field, and demonstrations of the use of new agriculture technologies, including the use of plastic tunnels and drip irrigation (micro-irrigation).

Governance, finance and health & safety

The community and the solar water pumping system Water User Committee have also already received important training aimed at making sure the system is sustainable in the long term. This includes good governance, financial literacy, and health & safety training.

Good governance: this supported the community to establish a Water User Committee, which is responsible for the overall running of the system. It also provided training on the necessary governance tools to make sure the system would serve all community members equally.

Financial literacy: this focused on the importance of opening and maintaining a project bank account, as well as training on record keeping of income and expenditure transactions around the water pumping system. This is particularly critical for the transparency of the project long term, as all water users will pay for the water they consume based on the tariff set by the community, and all income earnt will be used to look after the system long after we have exited the project.

Health & Safety: this orientation provided guidelines to follow during both the construction phase and operation phase of the system.

Water, sanitation and hygiene training

Finally, the first round of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) training has also been carried out. Topics covered included: personal hygiene, key hand washing moments, and water purification methods at household level.

This initial session was a ‘train the trainers’ course. Carefully selected members of the community (school students, teachers, health workers and members of the Water User Committee) were in attendance and they will then be responsible for disseminating the knowledge to the wider community through subsequent WASH campaigns.

Find out more about our impact in Nepal.