Clean Water & Sanitation Program
Our Community-Based Model
The EMW village water system is designed to be a model of community sustainability. Residents contribute labor to dig the trenches to lay the pipes, purchase their own house connections for water, and pay for water consumption. Local water managers are selected from each community to collect fees for water usage, and are trained to operate and maintain the systems as well as provide reports to EMW. This approach greatly increases the long-term success of each water project, as the community has buy-in over the system and its management.
Every EMW Clean Water system starts and begins with total buy-in from the communities served, confirmed by a signature on an agreement describing financial and other responsibilities for building and operating the water system.After being introduced to a village by the local authorities, EMW conducts a series of meetings to explain how the program works, and to make sure the local people are willing to make the necessary investment of time and money. The villagers are polled to see who is willing to sign up to be hooked up to the water system.
Once the community is fully informed and engaged, the work begins. EMW digs the wells, builds a water tower, installs filtration, aeration and chlorination systems where needed, and runs the distribution pipeline through the village. The villagers have to dig the trenches to lay the pipe. Each household has to purchase a water meter and the piping and plumbing to run the water from the main line to their house and garden. The community selects a water manager, who is responsible for maintaining the system. The water manager is paid by the local People’s Committee. The revenues collected from the households hooked up to the system cover the cost of electricity and maintenance.
The average cost to a household is about twenty cents a week. Most households use about 300 liters of water a day. In many cases in poor areas, people continue to use less satisfactory sources (e.g., irrigation ditches, nearby rivers, or unsanitary dugwells) of water for irrigation and washing, and save the piped water for cooking, washing, food and bathing.
The wells are either shallow or deep bore wells with surface mounted centrifugal pumps, and submersible pumps for deeper wells or for areas where frequent flooding is a problem. They are sealed, so they cannot be contaminated by polluted ground water during flood season. After it is properly treated, the water is pumped up to an overhead storage tank, where it flows via gravity to the beneficiary households.
If substantial maintenance is needed, EMW’s water or construction teams will go to the village and help to repair the problem. EMW also provides ongoing training and supervision of the commune or hamlet water managers, in order to help the systems become more self-sustaining.
Upon completion, about 4-6 months after the project has been approved, a ceremony is held to open the system and dedicate it in honor of the donor. While this is an opportunity for corporate publicity, more importantly it is an unforgettable experience of visiting the thankful people in a hamlet changed forever by the generous donations of our sponsors.