Water for South Sudan will start its 11th drilling season in the next month, with its most ambitious agenda to date. Plans include drilling up to 40 new wells and conducting hygiene training in each village in which we drill. This year we will also launch a pilot well rehabilitation team which plans to repair up to 20 cement platforms on previously drilled wells.
WFSS has been drilling wells since 2005 and has now drilled 259 wells in South Sudan. We now have two Field Operations Managers, Ater Akol "Lion" Thiep and Ajang Abraham "AJ" Agok. Both are former "Lost Boys" of Sudan who were resettled in the US as refugees, but have chosen to go back to South Sudan to help their young country develop.
Lion and AJ will start the drilling season together, working to implement a slightly revised well platform design, which is the result of our findings from our 2015 well evaluation survey in which we were able to visit 80 of our wells. The survey showed us that all 80 wells visited are functioning, and even wells that had experienced breakdowns were able to be repaired within a few days. This is a testament to the sustainable way in which WFSS drills wells, and then trains villagers to maintain and repair them.
Additional findings from the well survey showed that a number of the cement platforms around the wells were showing signs of wear and erosion. Our US Operations team, led by Don Fairman, volunteer Director of Operations and WFSS Board member, decided to revise the platform design for greater strength and durability.
"Water for South Sudan is committed to bringing access to fresh water in the most economical and sustainable way," says Fairman. "This is the perfect time for us to use what we have learned to improve our process and procedures."
Fairman and fellow Board member and Operations Committee member John De Seyn are also extremely aware of the responsibility to keep WFSS wells functioning and well-sealed. The WFSS drilling team takes care to ensure that the water source for the wells, a deep and refillable underground aquifer, remains uncontaminated by our process.
Once the drilling team has mastered the process for the new platform design, we will launch a pilot well platform rehabilitation team, which will start working on some of the most eroded platforms. The team's goal for the season is to rehabilitate up to 20 older wells.
WFSS remains committed to transforming lives in South Sudan. We look forward to the upcoming season in which we will continue providing access to fresh water. We are pleased to continue our hygiene education program which trains villagers in improved hygiene practices. These trainers can then train others, thus extending the impact of clean water.
WFSS thanks all of our supporters, from every state in the US, and 29 other countries. Together we are helping a fragile young country begin to take its first steps.