Solar-powered water pumps
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CTA. 2008. Solar-powered water pumps. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57336
150 communities in The Gambia get water this way
Solar-powered water pumps Cue: Pumping water by hand can be a time-consuming, laborious job. Using a diesel-powered pump is an easier alternative, but high fuel costs are making this an increasingly expensive option. So what about renewable energies? Are their environmentally friendly and affordable ways to pump water? Our next report comes from The Gambia, a country which is taking the lead in solar powered water pumping. Alhagi Jabbi, Acting Head of Rural Water Supply explained more to Ismaila Senghore. IN: ?Compared to periods when we were? OUT: ? Ismaila, thank you very much.? DUR?N: 5?24? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Alhagi Jabbi of the Department for Water Resources in The Gambia, speaking to Ismaila Senghore. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Jabbi Compared to periods when we were using diesel generators the price of diesel fuel was going up from period to period and communities could not afford to buy diesel and also buy spare parts for the running of these generators. Then the use of solar energy was highly welcome in the Gambian communities and it is very, very successful. Senghore Now what were the criteria you used to install the solar pumps in the localities where they are? Jabbi For example we say a community of at least 1000 people should be able to raise enough funds per year - this is roughly about $1000 - to maintain a system all year round and this is even enough to pay for the bills, for maintenance and for other charges, the running costs of the solar system. Senghore You say these projects are all very successful by your standard. Now how can you explain this success? Jabbi All their communities have their bank accounts, all the communities are connected to private companies for maintenance and this is actually the thing the water policy is asking for. The water policy is encouraging private involvement in the maintenance of water supply facilities and now we have succeeded in that virtually we say it is 100% successful. Senghore Now how many villages or communities have you already supplied? Jabbi We have supplied something like 150 large communities with solar powered water supply facilities and about 10 others provided on cattle drinking points across the country. Senghore What kind of equipment have you put in place in these localities? Jabbi We have installed solar panels and then we have also installed submersible pumps so that they can raise water to the overhead tank, which is connected to the distribution network within the communities. Senghore Was it expensive in the first place? Jabbi No, we tried to make the installations very simple and we tried to harmonise equipment. So if you get equipment from various sources it makes maintenance a little bit complicated. But we tried to harmonise equipment so that the supply of spare parts, the supply of skilled labour is also adequately met at community level. Senghore Now what do the villages use the water for, basically? Jabbi About 90% of the water is for use for drinking and cleaning purposes plus cooking purposes, domestic use. And then the other 10% say for light gardening behind their homes. Also a trough for small ruminants and other domestic animals that loiter about within the community. Senghore Are there any threats for example to the equipment, say from thieves or from children loitering around or from domestic animals? Jabbi Actually domestic animals and children are not normally major concerns because communities are normally sensitised and they include children and women and everybody within the community are sensitised. Sometimes we have threats from thieves but we try to circumvent these with intensifying security around the solar system, especially night watchmen. But during the day everybody is a watchman over these systems. Senghore And how cost effective is the whole system? Jabbi The investment is worthwhile. The supply of safe drinking water has a direct bearing on the health. When you go to some of these clinics, the amount of waterborne diseases or water related diseases affecting children and women have reduced drastically because of the supply of clean drinking water. And we reduce the time the woman has to spend collecting water. That has a direct economic benefit for the community, so that they can spend their time on other activities. Senghore And finally Mr Jabbi would you say or would you advocate for the extensive propagation of this kind of solar water pumping projects throughout the Gambian rural communities and elsewhere in the developing world? Jabbi Exactly Ismaila. During our last evaluation JICA was using the Gambia as one of the models so that they can transfer these experiences Gambia has with solar to other countries they are supporting. Because JICA did not go into solar initially but with this success story in the Gambia, now JICA is so much convinced to translate this utilisation of solar into other African countries. Senghore Who is JICA? Jabbi JICA is Japan International Cooperation Agency. Senghore Thank you very much Mr Jabbi. Jabbi Ismaila thank you very much, I am also very pleased because I have a lot of experience with this solar to share this with the communities is a pride for me Ismaila, thank you very much. End of track