Keeping water supplies flowing for the long term in Zambia’s remote communities

April 29th, 2022

In 2021 our partner ECHO, in Zambia, travelled to the remote north-east of Central Province where they met Rostina, a resident of Chola community. Their mission, to repair the village pump, now broken down for six years.

Chola 1 community pump in 2021, 6 years in disrepair

Rostina had this to say on their arrival.

“The situation here has been terrible. We can barely afford to keep our bodies clean since we’ve had to conserve every drop of water to make sure we don’t run out.” 

Chola’s waterpoint was originally built many years before 2015 when it finally broke down. India Mark II pumps are built to last. But across Zambia, when pumps breakdown, remote communities frequently revert to a previous water source simply for lack of finances or access to a supplier who can travel out to repair it.  

Mr Benny Tembo another resident of Chola, when asked in our household survey, did not even know of any authority responsible for ensuring he or his community had access to clean water. 

What has the impact been for Chola, six years now without clean water?

More wasted time collecting water, more disease amongst their kids from using an exposed water source. Some of the community members have learnt to boil their water, but that means wasted effort collecting wood, and more harmful Co2 emissions from burning it.

Previous water source

Rostina and Benny have spent the last six years with no support, no infrastructure and not enough finance. 

This year, long in the research and planning phase, we are trialling a long-term, district-wide solution to ensure sustainable WASH systems in Zambia, that will also help solve the problem of pumps falling into disrepair.  

Starting in Nalolo district, known of as the ‘land of sand’, in Western Zambia, we’ll be working together with local government, our partners ECHO, and local suppliers to complete a sustainable water supply system for the whole district, one ward at a time. 

It is a long project planned until 2030, and to achieve 100% coverage for water alone, 21 boreholes & 3 piped water systems will need rehabilitating to make them functional and 972 new boreholes & 13 new piped water systems will need to be built. And this, of course will be linked to a support system and infrastructure that makes it endure into the future.

Households, communities, schools and health clinics, the Nalolo population of 88,000 people – will stand to benefit.

Nalolo (in red)
We’ll be working in Muoyo ward this year (in pink)

This month (May 2022) our staff will be travelling out to visit our Zambian partners. We’ll be preparing for our Nalolo project, visiting ongoing and completed rehabilitation work, and meeting the villagers out in their communities. 

Stay tuned, we’ll be keeping you posted along the way, marking our progress and telling stories from the villages we visit.

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Chola community