water for Itombwe
The world is waking up to the importance of water. WATER IS LIFE and we are bringing life to the surrounding villages and infrastructure of the Itombwe Center.
Congo is one of the world's great centers of fresh water. East Congo, where we work, is located in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The Congo River is the second largest river in the world by volume, and its basin feeds the second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon. It is also the deepest river in the world.
Itombwe is a community left out of any and all of Congo’s development plans and projects. Like the rest of DRC, it is a water-rich region. But to find quality, safe drinking water is a serious issue, due to a lack of regulated land use. Farming and mining activities have utterly devastated a large area of the Itombwe forest, leaving the abundant water sources that serve the many families living in the Itombwe villages, polluted.
Water borne diseases have become prevalent in Itombwe due to the use of polluted water for drinking and cooking. At our Itombwe Center, we boil and then filter drinking water, but for villagers, a scarcity of firewood means that purifying water is a low priority.
In addition to unsafe water, women, girls and young boys walk every day a minimum of 1km to carry jerry cans full of water from water sources to their village.
To address this situation, we have determined to build a sanitary community water system comprised of a concrete water tank at our Center and pipelines to supply safe drinking water to our Girls' School and nearby villages, including a health clinic 3 km from the Center. The tank will be built at a high point on a hill so that water can flow downhill to users.
Water will be taken directly from underground to avoid any contamination from erosion and other pollutants. Once this water system is built, local communities will get access to safe water, free from contaminants, without walking far and without the need to gather fuel wood for boiling.
The system will include a series of public water access points along the pipeline from the Center to the villages, so that residents in a wide area can easily access this vital resource. As their contribution to the project, villagers have volunteered to dig the trenches to lay the pipe which will carry water from the Center to the clinic and villages.