Recently, The Raven Trust has concentrated on the development of eye care, and has been winding down its remaining, non-eye projects. The very last of these was a Pilot Water Well Maintenance Project for the Ekwendeni Catchment area, and it was finally completed, with the issue of a report, in July 2019.
Chris Challis, the project consultant, gives below a brief summary of the project’s work, and you can download the full findings of the project.
The provision of water wells in developing countries seldom includes a strategic water well maintenance or inspection programme. Ekwendeni Primary Health Care has provided assistance in repairing water wells, but has a very limited capacity. In 2012 the Raven Trust undertook 323 water well surveys and, without exception, every well required improvement. Following on from these surveys, a pilot water well maintenance programme was undertaken.
This project developed a suitable management system with four basic quality documents and a detailed breakdown of the annual costs involved to keep the water flowing. Water quality was also surveyed which indicated ground scrapes, shallow wells and river sources produced worrying levels of faecal coliforms (E.Coli). Indicating contamination of the water by human or animal faeces, which in turn raises the potential for waterborne diseases such as cholera and salmonella. Drinking water from a borehole offers the most secure source of water.
The Raven Trust makes a number of recommendations for future work, these include:
- The use of a strictly adhered to quality management system.
- Boreholes should always be the desired source for drinking water.
- Where boreholes are not used, communities need to be supported to ensure the water is treated.
- Encourage government organisations to take responsibility for monitoring of the quality of water wells, at the very least at schools and hospitals.
- Encourage and promote communities who maintain their water wells.
- Provide external support to ensure the wells are monitored and water quality inspections are undertaken.
A PDF of the report of the project’s findings is available to view and download here.