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Solar power ends water lineups in Tanzanian village

Children drinking clean water from the new water system in Tanzania, Africa.

New solar powered water system in Ifakara, Tanzania

Hours of lining up for water are a thing of the past in the village Ifakara in Tanzania, Africa thanks to a new solar powered water system installed by Plan.

The new water system uses solar panels and automatic pumps to extract water from the Ifakara area’s four boreholes. The water is needed for a wide range of uses including drinking, washing, irrigating and for construction.

New water system means more time for school

Before the new system, water was drawn from the boreholes in a slow, laborious process using hand pumps. The old hand pumps have been replaced by Plan as part of a wider health and sanitation program.

Collecting clean water involved scrambling and lining up for a single point at each borehole. At busy times in the morning and evening, there were up to 100 people, including school children, lining up for water.

The area’s four boreholes originally catered to four local primary schools, serving the water needs of 68 teachers and 3,423 pupils. With the improved system, the four boreholes can now serve over 10,000 more people who live around the community.

The water project and renewable energy

Using renewable energy from the sun, water is drawn up from the boreholes into reservoirs and from there, flows to different water points either in the schools or close to them.

The project has had a huge impact on school hygiene and sanitation, by making it possible to install hand washing facilities. Tatu Rashid, the assistant head teacher of Lipangala Primary School, said the project has “sanitized the school environment” which will go a long way towards helping keep students healthy.

The improved water pumps have also increased lesson attendance at the schools. Previously, children would miss large parts of lessons simply queuing to get water. With the queues now gone, children are now able to spend more time receiving their education.

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