How to improve a water system without being a water expert

By Jeff Palmer, CEO on November 23, 2017 | Print

This is our final post for this clean water series. I have enjoyed sharing ideas for water systems that you can use water to strategically help your target people groups.

Even if you are not a technical person and want to deal with construction of wells or water systems, there are some other ways you can be involved in helping people/communities get clean water. Simply helping them manage the water they already have is one such way.

  • Maximize water by helping community members examine their existing water systems. Find ways to improve the system through technology or maybe simple sharing and scheduling. A better pump or a better delivery schedule may make more water available for each household.
  • Repair leaks and inefficient delivery or storage systems to increase volume per household at a relatively low cost. I have seen communities with great water systems lose up to 50% of their water through leakage. Many times have I have been in a community that struggles with having enough water, but have seen a spigot at the community water system left open and running because of a faulty piece of hardware or simple negligence. These are great places to start with a community organizing strategy to get people talking about and solving their own problems- and it really doesn’t cost much except you spending time in the community with people. Not a bad thing!
  • Form a water cooperative within the community. Members take ownership of, manage, and maintain their water resources. This can result in the formation of a community water action plan. Members can even agree to assess a “user’s fee” that will generate income to help fund a community maintenance plan including the hiring of workers. Through this you are helping people obtain and have good water without knowing anything about the mechanics of a water system… the possibilities are endless!

You don’t have to be an expert in water systems to begin helping a community with water access. Hopefully these simple steps will get you started! What other techniques have you used to begin water projects? We would love to hear below!

Next series in our blog? Improving health care where there is little access to health care services… Stay tuned!

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