In 2013, together with Christian Engineers in Development, we completed the construction of a 5000 cubic metre valley tank (or dam) in Katete.
The village had previously no source of clean water for human consumption and many cattle died in the dry season when the surface water dried up. The surrounding area is savannah country with gently rolling hills. Ground water is too deep for boreholes to be effective and so rainwater collection and storage was the best way to ensure a sustainable water supply.
Over the course of eighteen months we raised £40,000 from individuals, grant-giving organisations and a harvest thanksgiving appeal at Holy Trinity Church Claygate. God’s timing was faultless – the last tranche of money was donated, the contract signed and the bulldozers moved in literally weeks before the start of the rainy season (which would have stopped work) in 2013. Consequently, the area has enjoyed a continuous supply of water during the dry season of 2014 for the first time ever!
We thank God for our partnership with CED, without whose expertise this project would never have been realised. They designed the tank, helped our fundraising and supervised its construction. Their in-depth local knowledge was fundamental to our success.
Vital to any water project is hygiene and sanitation education to help the community to make the best use of water. Our partnership with the social services arm of the Church of Uganda (Project, Development and Rehabilitation) in the North Ankole diocese enabled this to happen, and the diocesan health officer also oversaw the construction of two brick lined public latrines, requested by the community, at the dam site.
The long-term sustainability of the dam depends on the engagement of the local community in its the care and maintenance. A Water Users’ Committee was put in place before construction began, and this now functions to oversee all aspects of water use, and to collect a small fee from water users to provide funding for any necessary repairs in the future.