Bringing water to drought-stricken communities
Serdo is a community in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, that frequently experiences droughts and the resulting health and environmental impacts. The 2,000 residents of Serdo experience water insecurity daily, needing to travel 1.5 kilometers (about a mile) to retrieve potable water. The community bored a well to find groundwater, but was devastated to learn that the water was dangerously hot, and heavily contaminated with salts and fluoride.
On average, only one in five boreholes in Afar produce safe drinking water. Throughout the region, approximately 40 borehole wells have been abandoned and sealed after thousands of dollars were spent on drilling them. USAID approached DuPont Water Solutions to use a borehole in Serdo to demonstrate a sound, economical model for uncapping local boreholes and treating the groundwater.
With funding from USAID and DuPont Water Solutions, our team in the region worked with specialist water engineers PURETEC to design and install a treatment facility and cooling tower in 2018. Through Water Solutions, we donated 16 FILMTEC™ Reverse Osmosis Elements and provided technical expertise, while NGO CARE Ethiopia and the regional government facilitated the project’s process and logistics.
In early spring 2020, the residents of Serdo were able to turn on the tap of a local well providing 5,000 liters per hour of clean, cool potable water. DuPont also provided technical training for regional water managers and community-based operators and technicians, so that the community could sustain their system autonomously for decades.
Women in the community no longer need to take lengthy walks to fetch water for cooking, drinking and cleaning, and the community is overall more secure and self-sufficient. With one essential community need met, the residents of Serdo can now focus their attention on other aspects of life.
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