Gondar is a rapidly growing city, and much of the population lives in areas that are semi-rural and not connected to the municipal water distribution system. These people rely on other sources of water, most often contaminated streams and hand dug water sources. Women often have to walk many miles each day to access even this type of water source.
Each year Corvallis Sister Cities Association-Gondar (CSCA-Gondar) receives a list of recommended well sites from the City of Gondar Water Department and Bridge of Hope, our nonprofit partner in Gondar. The sites are selected based primarily on the number of families to be served and the commitment from the kebele (village) council to maintain the well in good working order. CSCA-Gondar members then select as many sites as possible based on available funding.
Donations from individuals, churches and other organizations fund the entire cost of construction. Additionally, these funds allow classes to be provided to members of the kebele who will be overseeing the wells.
Community support is integral to the project. The wells are public facilities owned by the City and kebele administrations. Local users, however, are active in the management of the wells and trained in repair and maintenance of the water pumps.
Each site is evaluated to determine the best type of well. In some cases, conventional drilling rigs must be utilized to reach the appropriate aquifer. In other cases smaller, more cost-effective drilling equipment can be used to access shallower aquifers. There are also cases in which shallow, hand-dug wells are the best option. Gondar-based water consultants make the final decisions. Once these preliminary decisions are made, a bid process takes place and one or more contractors are selected. A written contract is developed and signed.
In 2015, CSCA-Gondar funded five new water sources – two drilled wells, one hand-dug well and two spring developments.
In 2016 two additional water sources were constructed. A contaminated natural spring, which had been used jointly by area residents, cattle and other animals was developed into a clean water supply for the residents. A separate cattle trough was also built for the animals. The reservoir now serves over 40 households each day. Additionally, a hand dug well was constructed in the Kilil Eyesus area to serve over 200 residents who formerly had to walk several miles each day to access water.
In 2017, because of funding limitations, only one water source was developed. This hand dug well was completed and turned over to the community in June; it now serves approximately 60 households on a daily basis.
Since 2010, nineteen new water sources have been developed through donations to CSCA-Gondar. These water sources now serve over 1700 households. These rural residents formerly had no ready access to clean water.
The City government also builds wells in rural Gondar; however, the current need exceeds the capability of the local government. CSCA-Gondar assists in meeting the need.