History

The community of Oloo, Uganda has limited access to clean water sources with only three drilled wells to serve the 3,600 person community. The first well, which is located at the Primary School, often runs dry because of overwhelming demand. There is usually a large queue, and sometimes people have to wait over an hour for water. A second drilled well has an iron taste most likely due to the cast-iron casing of the borehole well. The third drilled well has a broken hand pump. The majority of villagers get their water from unprotected spring wells (inlets into the rivers running through the community), which are contaminated with fecal matter from cattle and runoff.

Location

The community of Oloo is located in the Alebtong District in a rural area of north-central Uganda, 15 kilometers from the town of Aloi. Oloo has a population of approximately 3,600 people who are split into nine villages. The community lacks a necessary water supply infrastructure, and therefore suffers a shortage of potable water throughout the dry season, which lasts from December to February each year. There is currently one well to sustain the community during the dry season, and villagers must walk long distances – up to 2 miles – every day to reach the water source, which often runs dry. Also, many of the villagers don’t know how to boil or filter water, which leads to health risks such as diarrhea, malaria, and typhoid.

What We Do

The EWB-GT Uganda team works in collaboration with A River Blue and the community of Oloo to implement a solar-powered water pump and gravity-fed distribution system into the community. The project is comprised of five phases and will ultimately provide access to clean water for the 3,600 people of Oloo.

EWB-GT provides 95% of the costs of the project and the community contributes the remaining 5%, as well as in country labor and materials.

In Phase I of implementation the team installed the borehole well and India Mark II hand-pump.

Phase II involved the removal of the hand-pump and the installation of a more permanent solar-powered pump as well as the construction of one 10,000 L storage tank with one tap stand. The approximate labor and material costs of this phase were about $40,000, and operations began in December 2015.

Phase III consists of two separate implementation trips. Phase IIIA occurred in December 2016- January 2017, during which the construction of the concrete substructure and the partial digging and laying of pipeline infrastructure occurred. This trip laid the baseline for the water distribution network that will be complemented by the construction of an elevated structure to hold a 36,000-liter tank. Phase IIIB was completed in spring 2018. The EWB-GT team worked with the community to construct a tap stand attached to the 1.5km of pipeline off of the system.

Project Status

Now that a solar-powered pump and a storage tank are installed, the project will shift focus to the construction of a gravity-fed distribution system. This expanded source of water for the community would improve access to a basic life necessity, help combat the spread of disease, and allow for more citizens to focus on other community development pursuits such as farming and education.

We are currently in the process of implementing the fourth phase of our project. We have already installed solar panels to power the new pump which has replaced the India Mark II hand pump. The next step is to design and construct a gravity-fed distribution system. The concrete foundation for the elevated tank is constructed and 1.5 km of the 4.2-kilometer distribution pipeline has been installed. In Phase IV, we will be building the elevated structure, which will support the 36,000-liter tank. We hope to complete the project by installing the rest of the distribution pipeline by the end of 2020. Internally on our student team, we are continuing to raise funds for Phase IV and sustaining the collaboration between the Oloo community, EWB-GT, the Georgia Tech community, and the greater Atlanta community.

We are excited that we recently received a grant from the Georgia Tech Student Foundation. All project partners are continuing the hard work and are excited about the continued success of the project!