Water to Thrive founder Dick Moeller is using our Tenth Anniversary Trip to Ethiopia to visit water projects from our decade of service and to strengthen the partnerships that will carry us into a sustainable future. This is his report from Gondar, where we have built projects in the past and where a new partnership continues our progress.
During our time in Gondar, we are hosted by a relatively new implementing partner associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. We completed 5 pilot projects in 2017 and have 10 new projects underway in 2018. We will be visiting as many of those permitted by weather and time.
We get an early start today anticipating more heavy rains in the afternoon like Saturday. Our first stop is one of the new hand dug wells, about 2 hours from Gondar, under construction at Debra Birhan.
As we approach the well, the community has gathered to greet us and have lined up their jerry cans to demonstrate their excitement for the coming completed project. The committee talks about the need, citing the fact that they have lost five or six community members to waterborne disease over the last couple of years.
As you can see above, the project is almost finished. Our partner expects it to be operational for the community within the next week.
Our next stop is the village of Robit, just a short distance from Debra Birhan. This is the site of one of W2T’s most ambitious projects, a deep borehole system and pipeline network serving the village of about 10,000.
The project incudes……
A 330 foot deep borehole with submersible electric pump
Backup Diesel Generator and Shed
10 water points like the one above, including ones located at the health clinic, primary school, and high school
…and an elevated 30,000 liter reservoir for pressure head.
The community has a strong water committee and good system for collecting operational money. It has more than $2,000 in its maintenance fund currently. All of main elements of the system are functional, but the generator needs a new battery which will be purchased soon.
The biggest challenge for this community is the Menceh River, which divides the town. Pretty much every year, during the rainy season, the river washes away the bridge that the community has built by hand.
The bridge is about 100 feet long and is 12 to 15 feet above the river. Grace Jackson, our engineering intern this summer from Valparaiso University, has taken a special interest in this challenge and is researching possible solutions for the community.