Well Evaluation Survey Finds WFSS Wells in Good Working Order

WFSS Board member angelique stevens tests water during well evaluation survey.

WFSS Board member angelique stevens tests water during well evaluation survey.

WFSS team visits 80 wells

In February, 2015 WFSS conducted its first formal evaluation of some of our oldest wells. Board member Angelique Stevens traveled from Rochester, NY to South Sudan to conduct the evaluation with WFSS Field Operations Manager Ater Akol “Lion” Thiep. The initial plan of the well evaluation was to visit 20-25 wells.

In February and March, the evaluation team was able to evaluate 80 wells. The survey focused on six major areas: well identification; maintenance; well use patterns; water quality; functionality; and, sanitation and hygiene.

The team visited a sampling of wells that had been drilled between 2005 and 2013 and found that the wells, by and large, were working. Even though 60 percent of the wells visited had broken down one or more times, we learned that we had given the villages enough training to either fix the wells themselves, or find someone who could fix them, making the villages who received wells truly self-sustaining. Another thing we learned is that E. coli and coliform levels in all the wells tested were within safe drinking limits.

One of the most important things we learned from the evaluation is that there is never enough water. When a well is drilled in a village, word gets around. In some villages the wells had a queue of 60 or more jerry cans, waiting to be filled. Animals, especially cows and goats, are drawn to the well site for water. All of this traffic causes wear and tear on the well’s platform base and drinking trough.

Consequently, some of the recommendations that came out of the evaluation were to:

  • implement a small platform rehabilitation team for the 2016 season
  • rehabilitate the platforms and drainage channels
  • improve platform design and construction, and
  • enhance our already robust training programs to include platform lifespan maintenance and best practices.

Finally, we have established a Monitoring and Evaluation Committee as part of our permanent Board structure. WFSS will continue to have a strong assessment program that allows us to learn and grow as we move into the future.

Read the full report here.

To read more about the 2015 well evaluation trip, you can also read Angelique's South Sudan blog.