CREATE!‘s partner communities reside within the Fatick, Kaolack, and Louga regions of Senegal. These areas are no strangers to desertification and unpredictable rainfall- the results of climate change. Looking out into the landscape, you would never know that deep under the sandy, dry earth there’s an abundance of clean water. Enough to support a community garden, enough to support a village. However, through the use of solar water pumps, communities in rural Senegal are able to bring life to the desert.
CREATE! ensures the availability of water in each of our partner communities. We do this through rehabilitated wells, solar water pumps, and gravity-fed irrigation systems. Each solar water pump provides thousands of liters of water every day throughout the year. The water is distributed through a gravity-fed irrigation system to basins in the village’s garden site. With reliable access to water, community members can grow vegetables year-round. Previously, this land was limited to the cultivation of traditional cash crops during the 2-3-month rainy season.
Meet Ndeye Marieme Samb, a mother of five from the village of Walo. Before her community had year-round access to water through solar water pumps, she could only work a few months out of the year. “I was working only in the rainy season and selling the harvest to support my family,” Marieme says. The rainy season runs from late June to late September, providing only a three-month window to cultivate crops to sell in the market. However, this three-month window expanded into a year-round cultivation opportunity when Walo achieved access to abundant, clean water.
Accessing Clean Water with Solar Water Pumps
CREATE!‘s first step in accessing water in rural Senegal starts with rehabilitating the community’s old well. Walo’s community well holds enormous potential for the future of the village. However, Walo stopped using the well decades ago when the government began making water available through commercial systems. It was not uncommon for communities to abandon their wells, and in some cases, the wells became trash pits. In addition, the commercial water system is cost-prohibitive for gardening and often not drinkable for families because of the salt.
After CREATE! partnered with Walo in 2015, our technicians rehabilitated the village well and tapped into the underground water source. The next step was making the water more accessible with solar water pumps. Many women use a pulley system to draw water from their wells by hand. This laborious task can only provide just enough water to meet daily household needs. Unfortunately, it cannot provide the quantity of water needed to engage in dry-season crop cultivation.
To combat this challenge, CREATE!‘s technicians installed a solar water pumping system into the well. With a solar water pump, thousands of liters of water are pumped into above-ground storage systems every day. Consequently, year-round garden cultivation is possible for the first time without the use of expensive and nonrenewable fossil fuels. “With the CREATE! implementation in the village, we have enough water for gardening, and we do not need to pay a water bill,” Marieme explains.
Clean Water for All
With solar water pumps, women have enough water for both household and agricultural use. “I drink the well water since CREATE! rehabilitated my community’s well and I always fill my bottle with 20 liters,” Marieme describes. When asked if she treats the well water in any way, Marieme responded that they do not need to since the water is already clean. “Since I drink the well water, I notice a health improvement because when I used the salty water I had health troubles.”
Today, water flows freely to the community members of Walo. Marieme and other women in the village no longer depend on the rainy season for work. Families do not need to purchase water from outside their community. Access to clean water is a human right. Help bring abundant, clean water in other communities throughout Senegal by donating to CREATE! today.