In early February, Aqua-Africa Executive Director Buey Tut lead a team that included Program Manager Mabior Acouth and Country Director Beatrice Safari to Hiyala to meet with local stakeholders, oversee a geophysical survey and develop a geographical layout of distribution points. During the visit, Aqua-Africa spent time with community members to discuss the implementation timeline, the community’s required contribution and possible risks that could derail the project. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the least likely risk; water availability, turned out to be the greatest.
After promising geophysical surveys, we were confident we would find the required 7,000 liters/hour or more water. With that assurance, Mabior lead a drilling team to drill the water well at the designated location. After four days of drilling, however, Mabior’s team determined that the well could only produce 2,200 liters/hour of the 7,000 required for the community. The entire Aqua Team was deeply disappointed by the news and believed the result marked an end to the project. As we worked through the process of bringing the project to a close, delivering the bad news to the community members, briefing partner organizations and outlining our exit strategy with local officials, we stumbled into some unbelievably good fortune. One of the local government officials took us to an area located a kilometer or so away from our borehole, to a water well that was improperly built. The official mentioned that the water well was a high capacity borehole that was hastily constructed due to ongoing military conflict. The well produced small amounts of water, but with proper construction it might support the community. It took another two months before we could confirm the production level of the well, but lucky for us, the account proved to be true.
With a revived but cautious optimism, Project Hiyala is currently back on track. Our partner engineering firm, Lamp, Rynearson & Associates has redesigned the distribution layout for the water system and orders for construction materials are being placed. Construction of the solar-powered water tower and system is set to begin in November 2019 with a completion date of late December 2019. Once completed, the water system is expected to serve upwards of 10,000 people with 10 distribution points peppered throughout the community.