Three quarters of the way through my time at Drop4Drop and it’s been a great experience so far. The research has been stimulating and I’ve learnt a great deal when it comes to water delivery systems in developing countries.
To help aid in achieving some of Drop4Drop’s goals I have had to research numerous African nations to see the suitability of starting projects in these countries. It has been very interesting looking in depth into these countries discovering facts about the past events leading to the current political climate which plays a factor in projects within that country.
Alongside this I have had to make assessments of the water resources of these countries coming across certain issues such as saline intrusions. This is when extraction of the natural groundwater encourages the nearby salt water, often from the oceans to be drawn into the space left ultimately destroying the quality of the water that was once there so that it’s undrinkable. I am therefore in the position to advise against any projects in these regions as they will not prove sustainable, but obsolete in a few years.
Another aspect of my internship is contacting other clean water charities in an attempt to find out more about their projects. Firstly this is to see if they are using any innovative technologies that could be applicable at Drop4Drop. Secondly it’s to gain the contacts of some in country partners to work with. This is because a very difficult part of initiating a clean water project in rural areas of developing countries is finding people on the ground to help implement the project and work with the communities that will be benefitting from the project.
A major issue facing groundwater in developing countries is the pollution of it from unsanitary practices contaminating the water creating and spreading diseases, so Drop4Drop is looking at incorporating safe sanitation practices into their projects. A product that I have found allows human waste to be turned into compost which can then be sold onto local farmers which helps to triple their yields and profits, all the while keeping the groundwater sources safe.
Drop4Drop mainly operates in groundwater projects however one area of research in surface (rainwater) storage that has proved fascinating to me is sand dams. This is where the community builds the dam structure and over 2 or 3 rain seasons sand builds up behind the dam and water is then stored in the pore spaces. This can hold 2,000,000 litres of clean, sustainable water which is then replenished by the seasonal rains and flash floods, which can also help to mitigate against the dangers of flash floods. I aim to present a project proposal to the charity coordinator based on this with the hope of it developing into a feasible project.
I’m really looking forward to what my final week at Drop4Drop entails.