Energy to pump water to hilltop communities

Nuna Reshmi is 35 years old. She is a widow and a single mother with two young daughters. Her husband died while working in the Middle East a few years ago, as is often the fate of so many migrant Nepali men. Nuna lives with her daughters, her sister-in-law and nephew in Jimi Gaun, a village in Gulmi District, 340km away from Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu.

As a single woman, and the primary breadwinner in the family, the past few years have been full of hardship and challenges. When her husband died, Nuna received a nominal cash settlement from his employers and the family are now highly dependent on the small amount of  interest this settlement earns as their main source of income. Nuna never completed school as she dropped out at a young age, but she is determined that her daughters and nephew will complete their education.

Nuna’s daughters, nephew and their friends finishing schoolwork outside their home

To add to their income, the family manage a small kitchen garden outside the house where they grow two crops of vegetables a year. Most of the vegetables are consumed within the household, but any surplus is sold at the local market. Nuna currently earns around NPR 7,000 (GBP 52) per year from vegetable sales.  There is no reliable and accessible water source near the house for irrigation, and relying on rainfall seriously limits their agricultural production. However, with better access to water, Nuna aspires to expand her vegetable farming and increase her income for the family.

There are 85 families living in the village of Jimi Gaun which stretches along the side of a hill. However 14 of them, including Nuna and her family live further up the hill above the existing water source, making them dependent on collecting water by hand for domestic use. In total Nuna estimates that her family members spend 4 – 5 hours a day making trips downhill to the existing water source to collect water for the household. Carrying the water uphill is extremely strenuous, especially for her young daughters. There often isn’t enough time to fetch enough water for both domestic and agricultural use so most days it’s the kitchen garden that suffers.

Nuna at the water tap outside her house
Nuna’s young daughters no longer need to make a difficult journey to collect water for the home

But the situation is about to change for Nuna an the other households. Thanks to a solar powered water pump that Renewable World installed in the community, all houses in the community now have access to water. Nuna now has her own water tap-stand outside her house. There is now no need for her and her children to spend time fetching water. She used to fear for her daughter’s education as they sometimes used to be late for school because they were collecting water. Now, with the solar water lifting project intervention she is happy and satisfied that her children are now able to give more time for their studies and she will be able to expand her agriculture production.

Nuna and a friend standing in front of the solar-powered water pumping system.

The solar water pumping system which now lifts water allowing the whole community to have reliable and accessible water.