15 buckets of water

August 25th, 2020

A typical UK family home will never be far from a clean water supply. Infact, a UK citizen uses 142 liters of water per day. That’s about 15 buckets… of clean water! It’s a service, expected and taken for granted by us every day.

Rosemary Kapanga carrying water home, Kabuma village, Zambia

Not so in countries like Zambia and Mozambique where most rural people collect water from scoop holes or from the nearest river or pool. Carrying 15 buckets of water daily for any distance would be quite a task.

In Africa, household water use averages 47 litres per person, and this figure is significantly lower in rural communities where we focus our work.

Since 2004, Village Water has supplied more than 500,000 people with integrated safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). This means each village will have a water pump and latrines close by and good information on hygiene.

Additionally, as pumps don’t work forever – seals wear out, parts break – we continue to support communities long after our initial installations and with the local water committees to keep up with maintenance.

93% of our pumps are still working since 2004 (compared with the sub-Saharan functioning average of 70%) which can be attributed to community ownership, involvement, newly learnt maintenance skills and increase of well enterprise teams in area to call for support.

For the long term

Whilst we need to get the water flowing now, we also need to invest in long term solutions by fostering a whole system change*

Over the next 3 years we’ll be working to complete Nalolo district in Zambia and two further districts in Zambia and Mozambique.

It’s about the systems, stupid: learn what systems change means from IRC CEO Patrick Moriarty

By identifying and working with local structures – councils, local enterprises, construction teams, and communities – we’re creating Masterplans which connect the dots between all aspects within a network of WASH delivery.

District by district, we provide the utilities that everyone should be able to take for granted as we do in the UK, and support infrastructure needed to keep the provision sustainable and independent of overseas assistance.


* Systems change is a move to think in terms of the larger WASH eco-system and rather than focusing on very narrow short-term targets and outcomes, an ambition to strengthen systems at district and national level. It promotes harmonised district level work to ensure everyone in the districts, municipalities, or cities where they work has adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services for the long-term

Ref: Water facts: Energy Saving Trust water review (PDF) >>