Well repair Archives - WaterStep

Digging a Well in Uganda

By now, I hope you’ve heard about our community project in Kaabowa Village, Uganda. During our work here, we will address all of the water needs of the entire community.

Like we’ve outlined on our project page, the first phase of this project will focus on digging a well to provide safe water in a central community area. The well will allow families to access clean and safe water quickly and efficiently.

RHCF (our local partner) will begin digging this well with an expectation of high community participation in manual labor and contribution of locally available materials. The community mobilization will allow everyone to participate and take ownership of this new project. This is a component that we have discovered is crucial to success in water projects: an engaged community.

Dr. Ssenoga of the RHCF previously wrote about the dangers of unsafe water in the community. “Where I live, people die from diseases because they don’t believe there is treatment,” he wrote. Many people in Kaabowa village do not understand that their water quality is dangerous to them and their families.

That is why WaterStep is working to train a water user committee that will be strong enough to control the operation and maintenance of the water source. This group of individuals will become local spokespeople for the cause of safe water and ensure its sustainability.

Dr. Ssenoga and his community are in desperate need of safe water to drink, and this first step can drastically change the quality of their lives. To learn more about the village, check out the project page and follow along as we keep you updated about the phases of this project. I know that the entire WaterStep staff is grateful for your help and excited about the possibility for change in Kaabowa village.

Check back in for more updates about Phase One next week.

A Picture of Kabowa Village

Water in Uganda

The community model is WaterStep’s approach to providing safe water to a community for a lifetime. The community model addresses the water needs one individual, one family, one community at a time.

This year, we are looking to Kaabowa Village in Uganda. Dr. Ssenoga reached out to us to explain their need for safe water, and together, we have developed a plan that will address the water needs of the entire village for years to come.

Kaabowa is a small village in the Mubende district of Uganda with a population of just 1,300 people. However, children from neighboring villages walk an average of 3 miles to get to Kaabowa each day because they have four schools with about 500 children each. The village also is home to a central market area that people walk miles to visit.

The market center and high schools give Kaabowa an impactful place in the Mubende community. The influence of the schools in the area is wide. Children who come to the community each day drink unsafe water, which is still one of the leading causes of sickness and death in the region.

Water in Uganda

Drilling wells wills in Kaabowa will be a first priority, which will have a ripple effect throughout the entire district as new water sources become available. The second phase of the project will include providing safe water in the schools and several pit latrines throughout the community. Finally, each family will be equipped with a household water filter.

We are so excited to begin this project in Uganda, but we need your help to make it happen. You can learn more on our project page and see how you can support the community model in Kaabowa Village.

From Nicaragua: Waiting for water

by Lauren Hack

 From a recent project in Nicaragua, where WaterStep works with Water Ambassadors of Canada and Puentes de Esperanza. 

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Anacielo approached the well where our team was working with some uncertainty. Here was a sight she didn’t see every day: The hand pump that she used to get water for all of her cooking, washing, and drinking was dismantled with its tank in the air, spouting water.

While uncertain, she seemed determined. “Are you using that water?” she asked. We told her we were pumping water to measure the flow, but that she could certainly have the water if she’d like. Her face brightened and she motioned to up the hill where her husband stood.

“Get the buckets!”


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Within minutes Anacielo was filling a 50-gallon barrel her husband had carried from their house. She worked patiently as she poured bucket after bucket into the barrel. She assured me that she would only use this water, which was murky from sediment kicked up by the pump, for cleaning floors. This was more water than she’d seen in a while, and she wanted to take advantage of the momentary wealth.

Water was precious in Las Cañas. Here, everyone depended on one of several wells for all of their water needs. This particular well had produced less water in recent months. Now, a person might pump for an hour or so before the water stopped flowing, leaving the well dry until the next day.

(Dropping an electric submersible pump down a well is a little unusual for a well repair project. We were interested to see how much water there was in the well, based on the community’s information that water flow had been low, stopping after an hour or two of pumping. The logical explanation was that either the water table was lowering, or debris was clogging the screen at the bottom of the borehole, preventing water from passing through. If it was the latter, we hoped the submersible pump might unclog some of it.)


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As the water ran clearer, word of the flowing pump spread.

Another woman showed up with a few 5-gallon buckets. Then another got line.


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Family members showed up with buckets. A small crowd gathered in the courtyard of the town kindergarten. People filled their buckets, took them home, then came back to get in line again.


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While we were waiting, Anacielo spoke to me of the continued presence of our local partners Puentes de Esperanza in Las Cañas. This well had originally been converted to a closed India Mark II hand pump system from an open rope pump system three years ago. Before that Puentes had set up medical clinics and helped with the construction of the church. She spoke of the impact it had in Las Cañas and how their continued support meant hope for her and her community.

After everyone had filled their buckets to satisfaction, the team finished repairing the well. Water was flowing steadily, as it had been for several hours. People from Las Cañas gathered around the well for a photo and took turns at the newly-repaired well.


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From Nicaragua: Giving thanks

With Thanksgiving only a few days a way, we at WaterStep wanted to take a moment to thank the many donors, volunteers, supporters, and advocates that strengthen WaterStep’s mission to provide safe water to the people that need it most. Here’s a short video from a well repair project last week in Nicaragua to say thank you!

How to Drill a Well

In some areas, drilling a well is the most effective way to bring water to a community. However, the task of drilling a well is not always simple and many must learn how to drill a well before the enter the field.

Our new instructional videos will take you step-by-step through the process of how to drill a well, using WaterStep’s drill, the EXP-50.

Check out our “How to Drill a Well” video series below, and then head over to our Store to learn more about the EXP-50 and how you can bring one on your next trip.