When the EWB University of Cincinnati chapter began working in the community of Nyambogo, Tanzania, residents had no reliable access to clean, potable water. The most common sources were collection pools from natural springs and a nearby reservoir created by the government, both of which are contaminated by bacteria and not consistently available. This lack of access to clean water spread water-borne diseases through the community and took children out of school for hours each day to travel the long distances required to collect water for the family. Even after EWB UC installed a clean water source near the community center, clean water use was low due to how spread out the homes are in Nyambogo. To address this, a water distribution system was implemented Spring of 2016.
The EWB UC chapter has been working with Nyambogo since 2009 to provide clean water access to the community. After extensive analysis on potential water sources, we decided to implement a borehole well and distribution system using solar power and gravity feed. The borehole was drilled in August 2014, the system was installed in December 2014, and water was being sold shortly after that. In Spring of 2016 a distribution system was added to increase access across the subvillages: Dagopa, Otochogo, Wangelongo, and two primary schools: Nyambogo and Dagopa. The Nyambogo Water Committee (community members in charge of maintaining the water system) has since expanded the water lines to several households, made numerous repairs, and bought a new pump using revenues obtained from selling the water at the taps.
The Nyambogo Water Committee now autonomously maintains the water system and manages the water system fee collection and budget. EWB-UC and SHED (Shirati Health and Education Development Project, another local NGO) receive monthly water reports from the Nyambogo Water Committee to provide additional oversight and assistance, but leave decision-making power to the community. This model has proven to be economically sustainable and should continue its success in providing potable water and jobs to the residents of Nyambogo.