Water well sustainability

Wells, like any heavily used piece of machinery, breakdown. What do we do to help?
In water stressed areas, wells are typically used all day, every day.  Such high volume use inevitably leads to wear and stress on the well pumps and related parts. Drop in the Bucket works with community stakeholders to establish and provide tools and resources to maintain and sustain wells, so that the wells can withstand high demand from users, and stay productive. We have created these core programs, which are essential to the continued success and sustainability of our well projects:

  1. Community Participation: Drop in the Bucket has completed more than 360 wells. We include the community in the process of drilling the well so that they will always see the well as theirs, so any breakdowns will, therefore, become their responsibility.
  2. Water Committees: We help create water groups and water committees to teach  community beneficiaries basic hand pump preventative maintenance. We tailor these trainings for specific communities, so they have the tools for long term success.
  3. Locally Sourced Pumps and Parts: The hand pumps and parts we use are readily available all over East Africa. They are sturdy, the design is simple, and they are easy to use and maintain.
  4. Pump Mechanic Training Programs: Drop in the Bucket teaches locals how to repair wells and maintain hand pumps. This ensures that the wells stay working over time, and  helps create small business enterprises, so mechanics can make money and stimulate village economies.

Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs): Lack of maintenance funds is a significant barrier to sustainability for well projects. A $20 or $40 mechanism could very well be the difference between flowing water and a broken well. VSLAs are a structured system of lending and borrowing money that provides the funds needed to cover preventative maintenance, pump mechanics, spare parts, etc. VSLAs also lend to village-level businesses, stimulating the local economy and empowering community members. Read more about a successful VSLA here.