Many of us involved in projects in developing countries would have come across the problem of water shortage. The situations may vary from draught leading to death and destruction to unreliable and inadequate supply of water.
In some situations, conservation – especially of rain water – may offer at least partial solution.
Whilst working on an island in Lake Victoria – Ukerewe – I became aware of the acute problem of reliable water supply. When I was asked to help with an emergency surgery there was only a bucket of water to scrub and clean. I learned that we were lucky to have a bucket of water - it was not uncommon for the hospital to cancel life-saving operations for lack of water.
Many schools had no reliable water supply. It was customary for pupils to be sent in the morning to the lake, in some cases four or five miles away, to fetch a few buckets of water, mainly for teachers. A Teachers’ Training college on the island relied on a shallow well which often dried up in the summer.
It was by chance that we learned about the Good Earth Trust (www.goodearthtrust.org.uk), Tanzania which had developed a compressed soli block technology, using locally available material and expertise to build 50,0000 liter water storage tanks at low cost.