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Ugandan Community Thrives, No Longer Drinking Water from Polluted Lake Victoria

Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer, has the vision to help resolve the global water crisis and has invested its technical expertise and financial resources to realize this vision. Water Mission is a natural partner for Grundfos as the two organizations have a shared interest in saving lives and providing hope. The definition of “partnership” is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. Since the partnership began in 2007, over 2 million people have received access to safe water.  

Through Grundfos’ best-in-class technology, Water Mission has developed environmentally friendly and sustainable safe water solutions that continue to save lives and help communities thrive.  Further, technologies like Grundfos’ Lifelink and AQtap products have provided valuable data that Water Mission has used to improve design criteria as it relates to the placement and service area of safe water tap stands.    

Together Grundfos and Water Mission are committed to developing, deploying, and monitoring best-in-class safe water solutions to end the global water crisis.

C. Rogers Hook, P.E.
Strategic Partnership Director
Water Mission

Originally published on the Grundfos website as a case study in late 2019. The article has been edited for this publication.

Lake Victoria sits at the bottom of a long, sloping hillside – about a half-hour walk from the Bugoba village.

“At first, we thought the water [from the lake] was good because we used to take it,” Annet Kasukya, a Bugoba resident, says. “Then you became sick and thought it’s maybe mosquitoes. In the community, people were always sick.”

Then, her daughter, Hanifa, became severely ill.

“We spent a lot of money trying to get her better,” Annet says. “She became so dehydrated, it almost took her life.”

There was a well, but it was about a two-hour walk up the road in the other direction and the water in it was not safe. The alternative was to buy water from local vendors.

“It was expensive. We could not afford that money,” she says. “We invested a lot in medical treatment for our kids and even ourselves when we got sick. We could not save any money that could help us in our daily lives.”

According to Kigongo Mathias, the district’s chairperson, Lake Victoria had once been a good source of water, but over time industrial development and population growth brought pollution.

He said, “The lakeside communities began seeing increasing waterborne diseases, deaths especially among children, high medical bills, and declining productive working hours. This started a negative spiral of poverty.”

Kigongo Mathias is overjoyed that his community has reliable access to clean, safe water. (Photo credit: Grundfos)

In 2015, the government of Iceland funded a four-year water, sanitation, and hygiene project to target the issue. They collaborated with Water Mission, the local Ugandan municipality, and Grundfos, a supplier of safe water systems.

After consulting with Water Mission, the Icelandic government concluded that the Grundfos AQtap solution would be best. The solution offers an automated water kiosk with pre-payment and online water management system. That way, the small payments for water would ensure funds for the operation and maintenance of the water systems. People can collect safe water for their households and small businesses at the water points at any time with pre-paid WaterCards.

Communities are empowered to manage and sustain the clean, safe water source the Grundfos AQtap solution provides. (Photo credit: Water Mission)

Tom Kisubi, Water Mission’s country director in Uganda, says that the system’s financial management increases the project’s social sustainability. He said, “We have a cashless transaction. Even as we speak, people can get credit onto their water cards. People don’t have to hold cash. That increases accountability. It increases financial management, and in the end, the sustainability of the whole system.”

The Impact of Safe Water

From 2017-2019, the number of gastrointestinal illness cases decreased across 39 Ugandan communities (45,000 people):

  • 45% decrease among all age groups
  • 65% decrease among children under 5 years old

The district received safe water solutions from Grundfos, the Icelandic government, Water Mission, and the local Ugandan municipality in 2015. Findings are from the Grundfos case study.

 

 

*The district received safe water solutions from Grundfos, the Icelandic government, Water Mission, and the local Ugandan municipality in 2015. Findings are from the Grundfos case study.

In Bugoba, Annet says that you can see a difference everywhere you look. She said, “The village is so clean. We no longer see sick people vomiting or having diarrhea. People have learned how to be clean.”

She adds that her family can now save money on medicine and clinic visits, and her children can go to school.

Annet Kasukya, a Bugoba resident, with her children. (Photo credit: Grundfos)

Local teachers also say that the number of children enrolling in school has almost doubled after the villagers got access to safe water, proving once again that collaborative efforts to fight the global water crisis result in healthier, happier, thriving communities.

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