This is Eveline. She’s from Burkina Faso in west Africa, a landlocked country with a tropical climate that’s becoming ever more unpredictable because of climate change. The winters are getting drier and the summers are getting rainier, so there’s increasingly either too little or too much water available.
WaterAid West Africa worked with Eveline’s community to install a borehole, so they now have clean water pumping whatever the weather. Read on to find out how this has improved everyday life for Eveline and her family.
Eveline is a single mother of five. She and her children live in Sablogo village with one of her late husband’s brothers.
Like any mother, Eveline wants to protect her little ones, keep them fed and watered and in good health, but that was a constant battle when she only had dirty water to drink, cook and clean with.
Sablogo is named after the riverbed that crosses the village, which is part of the Nouah river. Eveline and her children used to collect water there before the borehole was installed. As you can see, the arid weather caused the riverbed to partially dry out, looking like more of a sand dune than a water source.
Every day, Eveline had to visit the riverbed, dig a hole in the sand and scoop out the dirty water available to fill up her jerry cans. As you can imagine, this was incredibly time consuming. Time she could have spent at work earning a living or looking after her children.
Eveline’s daughter Chantal used to help her mum collect water. “It was difficult”, she said. “It took much of our time. It was hard to carry jerry cans and walk in the sand, cross the edge of the riverbed and return home.
“When I drank [the dirty water], it gave me a bad feeling of nausea.”
Eveline knew the water wasn’t clean and could make her children poorly, but she had no alternative: “We used to drink it and do everything with it, hoping that God would protect our health.
"At that time stomach aches, diarrhoea and vomiting were frequent…the water wasn't safe at all. We often saw residues of dirtiness in it while drinking it. Seeing that, we knew we couldn’t drink such water without falling sick."
A climate-proof water supply
With help from WaterAid, Eveline’s district now has its own borehole so, come rain or shine, she and her children can easily get clean water whenever they need it.
As part of WaterAid West Africa's innovative community-based project to manage threats to water security, we trained a local mechanic to understand the water cycle and the vulnerability of the water resource, to be able to take care of the pump and repair it if it breaks down.
This is a key part of building local expertise and keeping the water flowing, whatever our changing climate brings.
The joy the borehole has brought Eveline shines through in her ear-to-ear smile.
"Since we got a borehole in our district, we don’t drink [dirty] water anymore. We use it only to wash our clothes. For drinking and cooking now we’d rather use the borehole’s water, which is clean.
Now they have water they can rely on, Eveline and other farmers in her community have the tools to grow food.
“Water and food go together. Our harvest and food - we have them thanks to water.”
With clean water, Eveline can prepare food for her family, safe in the knowledge it won’t make her children sick.
"The dishes I like eating the most are rice and also beans," said Lea, Eveline’s daughter.
During feast days, they come together with their neighbours and friends to share food.
Eveline’s also noticed the positive effect clean water has had on her family's health and wellbeing.
"The cases of stomach aches, diarrhoea and vomiting have significantly reduced,” she said.
Clean water creates a ripple effect that will be felt for generations to come in Eveline’s district. With a reliable source of clean water close to home, come rain or shine, many families in Eveline’s community will be better able to stay free of disease. When they are healthy and well, they can go to school or grow food to eat or sell. They can earn a living and put money aside for the future. They will be stronger, so they can plan and prepare for whatever tomorrow brings.
A staggering 1 in 10 people still don't have a reliable source of clean water, and the more our climate changes, the harder it’s becoming for them to access this basic resource. It’s the world’s poorest people who are feeling the impact of our changing climate the most.