Water at Ol Lentille Trust
The Challenge: water. Supply of it, access to it, quality of it.
Arguably, the greatest challenge facing the Maasai and Samburu communities and the wildlife of our semi-arid lands.
- Boreholes: expensive to drill and equip, expensive to run, often relying on diesel pumps, which the communities cannot afford to fuel. They often collapse or dry out, they also lower the water table. There are few people who can maintain these.
- Open dams: prone to contamination by animals (domestic and wild, especially elephants). Often heavy competition for this water, especially in the ever-more frequent times of drought.
- Sub-surface sand dams
- Rock catchments
- Rainwater harvesting from roofs.
There is almost no piped water, partly due to elephants and their propensity to destroy pipelines.
Water is therefore carried to homesteads, schools and workplaces by women and children, often over long distances.
In this arid land, the Trust supports all forms of water project:
In construction and enterprise:
- All Trust builds have roof guttering and water storage tanks.
- The Trust’s associated tourism property The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is almost self-sufficient for water through rainwater harvesting using a rock catchment and a sub-surface sand dam.
In schools and health facilities:
- The Trust has rehabilitated one open dam near the Ngabolo Primary School.
- We fenced the dam to prevent wildlife and livestock access to it thus reducing contamination; ran a filtration pipe through the dam wall allowing stand-pipes and livestock troughs to be made; and provided solar pumping to a 50,000 litre storage tank at the School.
- We also drilled a new borehole at the main centre, Kimanjo, and equipped it with a solar pump, allowing water to be fed to the Secondary School, the Primary School, and the new Hospital we have built.
In the community:
- We have received generous funding from the Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation to buy a bulldozer. Many of the open dams in the area have not been de-silted for many years with the result that their capacity is severely diminished. With the bulldozer we will be able to bring them back to capacity and strengthen often deteriorating dam walls. Additionally we will hire out the bulldozer and generate income for our healthcare and other programmes.
A Green and Economically Sustainable Future for Water Supply:
We feel strongly that diesel pumps are relics of the past and should not be used:
- communities cannot afford to run them
- they cannot maintain them
- pumps contribute to climate change
We also believe that community dependence on donors undermines their dignity and human rights: community members ought to pay for their water for a sustainable and developing future. Technology exists to allow cashless payment, and high levels of accountability for the funds collected. We are actively seeking funding to equip boreholes with this technology – the GrundfosLifelink system. Funds so collected can be used for maintenance and repairs, water installation security, and for funding other community needs.