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A Norfolk’s engineer will help improve drinking water supply in Uganda

  
  
  
  
  

As a Norfolk engineer, I have been working for several years on water projects in Massachusetts such as wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater management and drinking water supply projects.  Such water projects really interest me and that is why, in addition to my work, I have been mentoring a team of Tufts University students on a drinking water supply project in a small village in Uganda called Shilongo. My team and I belong to the Engineers Without Borders Tufts Student Chapter (EWB-Tufts), which is an organization that focuses on low-tech, high-impact projects in developing countries. EWB was founded in 2002 and now has over 12,000 members from 300 chapters. I have been participating with the project with the Engineers Without Borders Tufts Student Chapter (EWB-Tufts) for over a year.

 

We decided to help the Shilongo Village with improving their drinking water supply. Clean water is a constant concern for the residents, and this is consequently a true quality-of-life issue.

 Shilongo Village, in the Mbale district of Uganda, is a small agricultural village spread out over the hilly terrain in the shadows of Mt Wanale. The community has approximately 800 members, half of which are children. The community has access to water via 4 natural springs, spread around the village, and one 30 m deep borehole that was installed by the district water commission. The borehole provides the cleanest, most consistent drinking water to the community, and thus, has a high demand, particularly during the dry season. There are a few schools in the village and when they let the students out, the queue gets backed up, and residents become discouraged and end up getting their drinking water from the less reliable springs.

In order to reduce the waiting time for access to water during the dry season at the only source of clean water for Shilongo and three neighboring schools, our EWB team intends to install a bicycle pump modification and a water storage tank with multiple taps. (see picture below)

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This project started during the summer of 2009 when a member of EWB-Tufts Program in Uganda travelled to the country. He worked with the local NGO, Foundation for Development of Needy Communities (FDNC). This organization is devoted to improving the quality of life in Uganda and is involved with development in vocational training, paralegal advising, and community health. While the student was in the country, the FDNC connected him with the nearby Shilongo village that they deemed in need of assistance.  Afterwards, during the school year, I met with the students to provide guidance and advice, as well as technical information.  Now I will spend one week in Uganda (August 7-13, 2011) to help install the tank and the pump lever modification.  The students will be there for three weeks. The goal of this trip is to install the system and turn it over to the community by the end of the three weeks.

 

This project will improve water supply efficiency for the village and allow residents to gather their drinking water from this prime source in a more timely manner, no matter the season or time of day.

 

For more information about this project in Uganda, please contact John McAllister at jmcallister@norfolkram.com or at (508) 747 - 7900 x 117 .

 

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