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Deep Water Wells

 

Safe, clean water is fundamental to human life. Yet even today 1.8 billion people in developing countries in Africa and Asia use a water source that is contaminated with waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Together, these diseases kill an estimated 4,000 children every single day.

 

In many areas, shallow tube wells can be a life-saver. However, in areas such as Gambia, Somalia and Bangladesh, safe water is buried many meters underground. These communities often don’t have the resources or the expertise to build wells to reach the clean water that could be the difference between life and death.

 

Building a well utterly transforms a community’s health and prospects, providing reliable access to safe, clean water for years to come. But wells don’t just save thousands of lives every day; they give an entire community the chance to stand on its own two feet.

 

 

The Thirst Relief programme provide solutions to meet the specific needs of the area and the people living there. Our wells fall into two categories: tube wells and deep-water wells.

 

Tube wells are relatively simple to construct. They involve digging or drilling into the earth to access groundwater in underground aquifers. Tube wells consist of a concrete basin with a pipe sunk into the ground, with a pump and a handle to bring the water up from the water table. These wells are used where water is relatively close to the surface.

 

However, in some parts of the world, tube wells simply cannot be used, usually for one of two geographical reasons. If the water table lies deep below the surface, the only way to access this groundwater is to build a deep-water well.

 

The second reason, perhaps surprisingly, is arsenic. Arsenic is highly toxic and poisonous to humans and animals and is naturally present at high levels in the soil and groundwater of a number of countries, particularly India, Bangladesh and some African countries. These areas require deep-water wells to avoid arsenic contaminated water and soil.

 

Because of the depth involved, these wells need to be dug in sections and lined with concrete to keep the integrity of the well’s structure. This means that every metre, digging has to stop, concrete has to be mixed and poured and all work must cease while the concrete dries. This makes digging a deep-water well a slower and more expensive process.

 

The advantage of a deep-water well is that it will last for generations. No moving parts are needed, so there's nothing to break. The well will typically yield enough water for a whole village, meaning the women and children (who traditionally perform the task of fetching water) get more time to devote to other things. That could be raising a family, working on the land, or getting an education to bring themselves out of poverty.  

 

Kids splashing water, Gambia

 

Clean water is one of the true essentials of life and is vital for the survival of communities. By building a well, whether a traditional tube well or a deep-water well, you're giving a gift to an entire village community, one that will keep on giving for generations to come.

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