Improving water quality and service levels through testing new handpump riser pipes

WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

In partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, and thanks to support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, we’ve successfully delivered a pilot scheme to install new plastic hand pump pipes in selected communities across Masindi – so transforming access to safe water for years to come.

Two years ago, when one of her students asked for permission to get some water, primary school teacher Kunihira Sauda would often wonder when they would return – or if they’d even be back that day at all.

Pupils were walking miles to find clean water for drinking and washing, and as a result, children – especially girls, who needed water to manage their periods safely – were regularly missing out on hours of learning.

Rusting pipes and poor-quality water

It wasn’t that the school didn’t have a water source at all – in fact, it had its own borehole on the school grounds.

Instead, the issue was one of poor water quality, caused by the borehole’s galvanized iron riser pipes. As these pipes corroded, metal deposits made their way into the water, causing it to turn brown and black, and impacting on its smell and taste.