Uganda – Bbanda
The community of Bbanda is located in rural western Uganda consisting of approximately 1,100 citizens, most of whom are subsistence farmers. The village includes several small businesses, four primary schools, and one secondary school. The villagers’ most pressing need is access to convenient, safe drinking water.
In 2008 before our involvement in Bbanda, there were two boreholes and a few open water sources around the village. However, water quality tests showed E. coli present in all of the sources, making them unsuitable for drinking. Additionally, the sources are not easily accessible and have a tendency to decrease in quantity during the dry seasons. Children are frequently taken out of school to walk substantial distances for a mere, but heavy, 20 liters of tainted water.
In 2008, Friends of the Sick and Poor approached EWB-USA Northeastern about the water crisis in Bbanda. In April 2009, EWB-USA Northeastern traveled to Bbanda to meet with the community and learn crucial social and technical factors shaping the community’s water crisis. EWB-NEU assisted with the formation of a Water Board (made of representatives of the different religions, age groups, genders, and occupations in the area). Upon return to Northeastern, the team analyzed the challenges of bringing water to the village. Bbanda needs an increased supply of water, but it also needs water closer to its homes.
In conjunction with the Bbanda Water Board, EWB-USA NEU drilled two wells and built a rainwater catchment system in August 2010. These two partners continued their work in April 2011, constructing and repairing three additional rainwater catchment systems on the town’s elementary schools. However, these are localized solutions that do not impact the whole community. In November 2011, EWB-USA NEU held meetings with people having vested interest in this project in order to obtain: input on the design; educate the community on the importance of water quality; survey current water practices; and prepare the community to support the project. With this data, EWB-USA NEU analyzed the possible alternatives and concluded that a village-wide distribution system fed by a borehole would be the best solution to Bbanda’s water needs.
A sustainable water system involves a simple, locally-sourced design, a logical construction plan, and a thorough maintenance program, reinforced by community understanding and support. EWB-USA NEU’s design addresses these issues and presents a viable plan for supplying Bbanda’s water needs.
Bbanda Water Distribution System
In July 2013, EWB-USA NEU began implementing the first phase of the Bbanda Distribution System (BDS). The first phase was commissioned by a team of EWB-USA NEU students in May 2015.
Water will be pumped from a borehole via a submerged centrifugal pump to a tank array on Bbanda Hill. A diesel generator will supply power to the system. The water will then flow by gravity to 12 tap stands in the village. The Bbanda Water Board selected and prioritized the twelve tap stand locations. The system is designed to supply 25-year demand for residents, students, and businesses in Bbanda projected to be 73,500 l/day.
Phase one includes the construction of a reinforced brick masonry tank and generator house, and 5 of the 12 tap stands; a local builder has been found for these tasks. The community will be involved in excavating and laying the transmission main and distribution pipe. Finally the pump and generator will be installed, allowing water to flow. Phase 2 consists of system expansion to the remaining tap stands. All components of the system will come from local suppliers. This will make any potential repairs more manageable, as it is the villagers who will be completing the repairs. Buying locally also avoids harming the local economy by purchasing foreign products.