Beginnings of close-out

A lot has happened over the last few months. Anh, Nolan and Jack went on a short but productive visit to the field in June. It hasn’t been easy recently for Usalama nor for our team due to the unreliability of the municipal water supply we’ve connected to, but we’re working through and hoping that our efforts will leave Usalama with a fully operable water distribution system soon.  Through all of this, we are slowly closing out of the Usalama water project; it is the beginning of the end.

To recap quickly: in September 2013, we constructed a new water tank, installed some new pipeline, and covered up a section of pipeline that was prone to damage by elephants. At that time, the connection was not made to the new KIMAWASCO supply that we had designed for, since the supply was not ready.  As we waited for the KIMAWASCO supply to be commissioned, Usalama continued to use their old supply, from the colonial line.  The purpose of our June 2014 trip was to train the community in the new water treatment procedure, and to observe a fully functioning system: a new supply filling our new tank and distributing water to all the kiosks.  (For a visual of our system, see our previous blog post.)

After construction completion and before the June trip, we had asked Jackson, the Usalama Community Chairman and our main point of contact, to observe water flow from each of the kiosks. To do so, we had water purchased and transported into the village from outside, and filled into the tank. Without the tank filling up from the new KIMAWASCO supply yet, this was the only way to observe water flowing from the tank to the kiosks. Good flow was observed at Kiosks 1, 2, 4 and 5. Kiosk 3 was missing its spigot, but the community decided to decommission this kiosk anyway, since there would be another kiosk nearby in the market area operated by KIMAWASCO.

Click this link to see Kiosk 2, observed in October 2013 after construction was completed. That’s Jackson’s voice in the background, commenting on the great flow of water.

Thus, prior to our trip, we had already verified that our system could work properly, provided that water from the KIMAWASCO supply reached our tank.

Over four packed days in June 2014, our team conducted a series of workshops with the community, inspected the water system, and tested the water quality. The workshops were well received, and the community was excited to soon have treated water available throughout the village.

However, we were disappointed to see that the water supply from KIMAWASCO was unreliable, and that elephants were continuing to damage water pipes.

In the next few posts, we’ll highlight our activities during the trip, and discuss what we’re doing next.

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