The ultimate solution for some water supply problems in rural areas is a deep borehole, but each costs up to £12,000. Also the success rate can vary considerably depending on the underlying strata.
FUM has three successful deep boreholes in operation, at Nzega Hospital, near Urambo Hospital and more recently at Mwanhala FDC. They provide a reliable, potable water supply and have functioned without problems for many years in Nzega and Urambo.
But the one we commissioned for Urambo FDC found no water despite a favourable hydrological survey. Fortunately an alternative solution has now been found and this is working well.
At Mwanhala the prediction was for an underground aquifer around 90m below ground, so drilling began. Nothing was found by 100m depth and a decision had to be made on whether to continue, at extra cost. The expert advice was to continue and water was struck at 110m depth, much to everybody's relief.
Tests showed the water to be of good quality and capable of supplying about half the village's daily needs.
Next a pump-house was built and a hand-pump installed temporarily. The picture shows our good friend Mr Hella helping a local woman.
The expectation was that mains electricity would soon reach the site and an electric pump would fill the high level storage tank.
The good news is that early in 2015 the electric pump was in action and the hand-pump was transferred to the newly capped well at Isegenhe.
Solar powered pumps
However the pump will not run at night so the system is only viable for wells with an ample supply of water. Mwanhala would not be suitable, the electric pump there needs to run almost continuously to meet the demand for water.