Dangers of Unprotected Water Sources in Kenya
Moheto Stagnant Springs
We just started a baseline survey in one of the new areas called Moheto (read here for info on what a baseline is), and the needs there are tremendous. In the other areas that we’ve surveyed, we at least see some protected springs, in which (relatively) clean water that pops up from the ground is protected by a concrete box. This allows people to get the water before it’s contaminated by the surroundings (cow poop, dirty dogs, etc). The picture above is of a typical springbox.
However, in Moheto, the only things we’ve seen so far are stagnant springs in which muddy water is mixed with algae. There have been no attempts to protect any of the water sources, as cattle and human alike drink from the same spring. All of the water sources we’ve seen so far look like the one in the photograph below.
Of course, several issues make the problem even worse. First, our initial surveys suggest that no one boils their water here. There are many reports of typhoid and diarrhea. Furthermore, many of these water sources are near tobacco fields in which extensive fertilizers and pesticides are used. In other words, even if they did boil, they would probably still have to deal with the chemical contamination of their water.
However, what really got me was seeing an algae filled pond right next to this primary school. The kids here were using the pond as their main source of water.
Let’s try to end this on a positive note. We’re already starting water training lessons in which we show the villagers just how dangerous their water is. After that, we’ll practically show them how to properly filter and boil their water, so that at least they will have the knowledge to prevent typhoid and diarrhea. Of course, we’ll be working with and listening from the community throughout in order to ensure that we can build a sustainable water solution for Moheto.