Innovation for Clean Water in Africa
We take clean water for granted. We turn a faucet and clean water magically appears. That's not the case for over a billion people around the globe.
Diana is working with the local district government to institute a "pay-as-you-fetch" system. Under this system, a water entrepreneur is granted responsibility for individual wells by the local government. He or she has the authority to charge a fee of 100 Ugandan Shilling (4 cents) per Jerry can, which is five percent of household income. The water entrepreneur has the responsibility to maintain and rehabilitate the well. Since a well needs to be completely rehabilitated about once a decade, half of the revenues are placed into a savings account that can only be tapped for this purpose.
A key aspect to the pay-as-you-fetch system is the installation of a low tech, but innovative piece of technology. Each of well is fitted with a tamperproof water meter that tracks the flow. This ensures that revenues are collected and the proper amount is set aside in an account for future repairs. Surprisingly, the transparent measurement of water flow at the source has never been done before.
The net result is consistent access to clean water. Last week one well broke down, but rather than being abandoned, it was up and running in a matter of hours. Wilson, a local resident commented, "when you transfer ownership from the government to a human being, he makes sure that the water keeps flowing, because if it doesn't flow his family doesn't eat."