ChangeALife Uganda: Migyera Community Water Project
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In many parts of the developing world, poor water quality and water scarcity affect human health and their economic and social well-being. Although much progress has been made towards increasing access to improved water supplies on a global level, there is a significant disparity between those living in urban and rural settings (UNICEF 2012). Following this trend, in the country of Uganda 85% of the total population of 34 million lives in rural areas. Of those rural Ugandan households, 70% have access to an improved water supply (UNICEF 2012). Partnering with ChangeALife Uganda (CALU), a local Ugandan non-profit organization, this project evaluates the water supply in the rural village of Migyera while taking into account the multitude of compounding factors, such as seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and diversity of water sources. CALU’s interest in water stems from its mission to provide education and health care, improving the livelihoods of children who are the most susceptible to water borne illnesses. The project seeks to evaluate current, local perceptions of quality, access, distribution, and use of water resources in Migyera Town Council, Uganda in order to provide recommendations to the client. Primary research comprised of three key data collection areas 1) household surveys, 2) water quality testing, and 3) geospatial analysis, was used to examine overarching questions on water management and sanitation and health of the community. This project provides recommendations to the client on these questions, including educational measures, water treatment and storage strategies, and an overview of the influence of groundwater chemical concentration on long-term health. The first section of the report introduces the project site with a discussion of the importance of access to clean water to community health and livelihoods. Our site, located 140 kilometers north of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is the Migyera Town Council. Located in Central Uganda, nicknamed the “Cattle Corridor”, the villages that comprise the Migyera Town Council are rural communities and like a majority of the country’s rural population, rely heavily on groundwater. Over time, the unique qualities of the regional environment, the bimodal annual precipitation cycle, and the unique bedrock that covers 90 percent of the country, including our study area, have contributed to the creation of this fractured aquifer system. These fractured aquifers provide one of the major sources of potable drinking water in the area; however, their complex structures also contribute to an already challenging resource management situation. The second section of the report details the methods used, both in the field and at Duke University. The specifics about the project’s data collection techniques included are the creation and implementation of the survey, collection and processing of bacteriological and chemical water samples, and compiling geospatial data. The third and fourth sections of the thesis consist of the analysis, results, and recommendations based on our three driving questions. (1) What are all the accessible water sources in Migyera Town Council and what are their contamination levels? Groundwater sampling of 10 local boreholes found arsenic levels (0.0257 ppm) that exceeded the WHO and Uganda drinking water standards (0.01 ppm). Fluoride, the other main constituent of concern, was detected at levels above the WHO (1.5 ppm) and Ugandan (1 ppm) drinking water quality standards in one borehole (3.309 ppm). Bacterial contamination was found to be an issue in the household water samples. Total fecal coliform counts exceeded the WHO standard of 0 per 100ml for 87% of the study households. Some households have concentrations of up to 10,000 fecal coliform units per 100ml of water. (2) How do households collect, store, and treat their water supply? Collection from sources varies with the seasons. During the dry season boreholes are the primary drinking water source followed by water collected from reservoirs. During the wet season rainwater becomes the dominant drinking water source. This change in source also affects how far people have to travel to collect their water, 24% of survey respondents had to travel less than 1km during the dry season to collect water, while in the wet season that shifts to 47% of respondents. We also found the majority of water collectors were males (60% of respondents) or individuals within the 18-33 year old age bracket (62.5% of respondents) while only 40% of women and 18.8% of people under the age of 18 were responsible for collecting water. Of particular importance was how water is stored and treated in the home prior to use. 78% of households reported that they store their water for more than a day, but only 54% of those who store water keep their storage container sealed. Unsealed storage containers allow for the possibility of contamination, essentially rendering the benefit of collecting from an improved source useless. Treatment methods vary depending on the water source that was used. Approximately 30% of households surveyed do not treat their drinking water during the dry season, of those only 22% of households are getting their water from reservoirs, the only reported surface water source. During the dry season the percentage of people getting their main drinking water supply from unimproved sources shifts to 28%, up from 8% in the wet season. 3) What measures can be implemented to ensure the community’s access to a sufficient supply of potable water? - Water storage methods including cleaning and covering containers should be addressed. - Treatment for microbial contaminants is most easily done through boiling water at a rolling boil, approximately 100°C, most bacteria will be rendered inactive after five minutes of boiling. - Any water collected at the reservoirs or any other surface water sources should be filtered, preferably though a multi-stage filter, before any treatment. - Properly encasing bores to a reasonable depth and sealing the bore heads to prevent contamination from surface water. - Assist in educational campaigns on the following: water treatment, particularly adequate boiling practices; proper water storage methods; and sanitation programming. - Transparent and open communication with the Migyera Town Council. - The CALU well should be monitored closely to check that the fluoride content does not surpass recommended standards. - Community workshops on installing and properly maintaining the rainwater collection systems. - A groundwater management plan determining the recharge rate of the surrounding area, continued chemical & bacterial monitoring, and it would be advisable to collect additional information on the ground water to mitigate water stress during the dry season.
CitationKendall, Liz; Oggeri, Francis; & Potter, Alayne (2015). ChangeALife Uganda: Migyera Community Water Project. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9704.
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