Borehole Water Comes to Nyanchonori

Until 2016, the villages in the Nyankoba Ward did not have running water. When the Hopewell Valley High School students visited in 2007, they walked three hundred yards down the hill to the stream where the Nyanchonori villagers go several times each day to fetch water. This walk was the basis for our “Water Walk” fundraisers in Hopewell, and the walk was also taken by the students in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Water is brought back to the village in containers such as discarded oil cans. The streams have small retaining walls and cisterns so the water comes from a pipe rather than from the bottom of the shallow stream. This reduces the risk of picking up dirt and bacteria. During dry periods, the local stream dries up and the villagers have to walk up to two miles round trip to a cistern on the nearest river, at about 700 feet lower elevation.

Hopewell student Trevor Saunders collecting water

It was clear that the long-term solution is to install a borehole, storage tank and distribution system in Nyanchonori and Mong’oni. We did get a proposal in 2011 from the District Water Officer of the Kenya Government to develop a fully operating borehole-based water company for $154,000. HKA-Keroka applied for a grant for 90% of the project to the Community Development Trust Fund, a joint European Union /Government of Kenya poverty alleviation program. Unfortunately they heard back in June 2012 that the application was not successful.

HKA and the WHO Club at HVCHS continued to raise money to cover the grant requirement of 10% from the community. They raised just under $14,500 of their $15,000 goal. A symbolic “check” for $10,000 was presented to the Nyankoba community by the students on the 2012 trip to let them know that we were making progress towards bringing water to the area. We had to go back to the drawing board on funding for the borehole project.

A promising development in January 2014 was that HKA-Keroka was invited by the newly formed Nyamira County Government to apply for support for a borehole. We sent $1,500 to fund the required geologist’s report on water availability and environmental impact and to complete the application forms. In May 2015, we learned that our application was successful and that the County allocated 2.5 million Kenya shillings (about $25,000) to drill a borehole. We recently sent the $14,330 raised by our students to HKA-Keroka to allow them to purchase a 25 x 100 feet plot of land to locate the borehole, water tanks and the pump and motor. We are very grateful to the students for their efforts and for their continuing support of HKA. The land cost $1800, and the remaining funds will allow HKA-Keroka to engage a contractor and negotiate the installation of the pump and construction of the tanks and distribution system.IMG_6462

At the beginning of March, 2016, the contractor retained by Nyamira County started drilling the water borehole in Nyanchonori. The well was completed on March 10 to a depth of 160 meters and subsequent testing showed that it could sustain the target flow rate of 5,000 liters per hour and that the water was pure enough to drink. The contractor also installed two 10,000 liter tanks. Next will be installation of a water pump and connecting it to the electricity grid. We anticipate a further request for funds for a distribution system and additional storage tanks as the project progresses. Fresh water will be available to the community in the near future and we will hold an official opening ceremony when HKA and the high school students visit Nyanchonori in July 2016.

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