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Well Repair Project

Summary & Objectives

Water is without a doubt the most precious resource in the world; in developing, rural areas, residents are entirely dependent on wells for clean water. In Africa, there are several thousand "bore hole" wells drilled to provide fresh water in rural areas. Most of the time, these bore holes are drilled by foreign companies, and there is no reliable service for maintenance and repair when the pumps (inevitably) stop working. Many bore holes need repair within a matter of months after installation, and locals are forced to return to the endless and often fruitless search for potable water.

The pump device that pumps water to the surface is a simple design. In fact, on one of his many trips to Malawi, ASU Professor Jan Snyder of Sustainable Resources, LTD was approached by residents in a small village and asked if he could fix their well. The village had been without any running water for months. With a few rudimentary tools, some rope, and an inexpensive rubber part, Dr. Snyder enlisted the help of most of the village men in dismantling, fixing, and reinstalling the pump (see video clip).

This successful undertaking gave birth to the idea of a locally owned, locally operated well-repair business. Sustainable Resources strives to identify and support projects that once started can be locally controlled and sustained with whatever resources are readily and locally available; to that end, this industry could continue to thrive without outside funding and support once the initial investment in supplies and training is made.

A well-repair business will be astonishingly easy and inexpensive to create. The supplies and tools necessary to repair these wells can be hauled in a handcart and packed into the typical transportation vehicles available in rural areas. An owner of a well-repair business could conceivably canvas a very large territory and repair several hundred wells every year. The impact this would make on the quality of life for the residents is immeasurable; after all, it is no use to have a bore hole well if it is not operable. And most villages can not possibly afford a new well every time their well fails, which makes them entirely dependent on the charity of either NGO's or local government to provide a well. This project would greatly increase independence from charity, increase entrepreneurship, and encourage a spirit of self-reliance among the recipients of the clean water.