6.3 million people in Zambia do not have access to clean water, that’s one in every three people (WaterAid).
This World Water Day, 22 March, is about tackling the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind. Sustainable Development Goal 6 is crystal clear: water for all by 2030.
By definition this means leaving no one behind, which is why we add new water-pumps in most of the communities we work.
This usually requires drilling a borehole because there is no reliable source of surface water; groundwater is found at a depth of at least 25m and often much lower.
We then install a hand-pump and construct a concrete apron for drainage. We use a local contractor to undertake the work and then get the quality of the water tested.
The water-pump is a community asset maintained by the school or clinic, and if it is looked after properly will last for many years.
Safe and clean drinking water helps to reduce waterborne diseases like cholera which are caused by drinking contaminated water. Handwashing with soap and water will help to prevent many common and life-threatening infections.
Having access to water is also important to us during the construction process. We try to limit the use of concrete in our builds as it has a high environmental impact, but it provides tough and hard-wearing floors for our busy schools and clinics.