Village Well Agreement
Prior to work beginning in a new village, community leaders must sign a water supply agreement which specifies community involvement including:
- an agreed upon financial contribution towards project cost.
- In poor communities which have little money, some goods and services can be contributed instead (coconuts, dry fish, palm butter, mangoes, charcoal etc). However, we have learned that some cash payment (even $50 or $100) must still be required. Money can usually be raised for funerals for people who died from drinking contaminated water. Raising and giving cash money for a safe drinking water supply is an important sign of committment. For villagers to carry produce to market, sell it, and then hand over the money is a critical step towards communities taking ownership of their new water supply. Handpumps are rarely broken in communities which have payed money towards the project. They helped buy it, they help care for it. Conversely, hand pumps are frequently not working for extended periods of time in villages which did not contribute cash money... as the villagers grow frustrated with Lifewater for not coming to "fix our handpump that we planted in their community";
- continuous night time security for all equipment and supplies. If items are stolen, the project will be terminated;
- continuous supplies of clean water for drilling fluid. Hours and quantities which must be carried to the drill site are specified since disruptions to the supply of water can lead to serious drilling problems;
- Details on donor thank-you letters to be written by village leaders;
- free and open access to the water by all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, political persuasion or status within the local community. The agreement should stress that the community and not any single influential person in the village owns the well;
- two people to be trained in routine pump maintenance. Since women have a major responsibility for water-related activities in most developing countries, their involvement in the repair team should be of primary concern;
- $20/year to cover the cost of annual maintenance parts and labour.
In addition, the following items are often included:
- quantities of materials which must be collected and brought to the site ahead of time. While the community's ability to pay must be considered, keep in mind that each well requires key tools and supplies which must be acquired prior to workers leaving for the selected drill site (see Table 3 - Section 3.3)
- 4 labourers to work under the direction of the Lifewater team;
- accommodation and meals for the Lifewater team during the period
of well construction (usually 2-6 days);
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