Water wells provide major opportunities to better lives in arid communities across Africa. While many parts of the globe take water as a human right, safe water is non-existent in many African villages. Sub-Saharan Africa has only 61 percent water coverage, as per the United Nations. This issue is avoidable, with the help of wells.
Unclean Water & the Potential of Wells
Every day, millions of people in dry, rural regions across the continent are forced to collect water from streams, ditches, and drains to hydrate themselves to sustain life. Ingesting contaminated water can lead to many illnesses, and perhaps the saddest part is that children are among the most vulnerable. As per the World Health Organization, about 2.2 million children die each year from diarrhea. Children also miss school days due to water-related sickness.
The lack of water can also compromise the personal hygiene of the African people especially girls and women. Inadequate water supplies for proper bathing and cooking can invite outbreaks. Provision of clean water through wells in dry communities can provide people with ample safe drinking water and nurtures a hygienic, sanitary environment that keeps the pumped water clean.
Building Water Wells in Africa
A clean water supply in arid parts of Africa is possible when wells are built. Along with access to the water, measures must also be put in place to maintain the wells. To reduce risks of contamination, pairing a new well with a good sanitation system makes sense.
Hand in hand with building a well is forming a village committee to take responsibility for it. The group has the duty to keep the well from mistreatment by the population or from hoarding by the community’s most prominent members. The committee must receive training on proper maintenance and parts repair of the well, as well as sanitation and hygiene practices. The well is more likely to stand the test of time when it has proper leadership.
Costs Vs Benefits
The cost of building a well depends on several factors, including the cost of labor, depth of the well, location of the village, and type of pump for the well. According to Water Wells for Africa, the average price of a well is $7,000 USD.
However, these costs are minimal in comparison to the sparing of lives in dry communities across the continent. Clean water has the potential to reduce significantly health issues and spare lives in Africa. Safe water can improve the quality and length of a person’s life, and it is certainly possible with wells.