Although Ishywa Island communities have access to safety jackets to wear during their daily boat rides as they go about trading and other activities, nothing protected them from another source of death in Lake Kivu. They consumed raw lake water, ingesting deadly bacteria in what should be a life-giving and refreshing drink: water. Water is a basic necessity of life, and in lack of alternative sources, they had to consume what they had access to.
So they suffered from waterborne diseases including some cholera outbreaks which had become an acceptable reality on this island.
As an island, Ishywa posed a challenge to planners. The population was too small for a traditional water treatment facility and the island too far out and posing a complex issue in extending pipes from the existing water grid. An initial solution was to drill a borehole for the island. This borehole was not enough for the island and the community had to access a pre-determined rationed amount from it.
Without sufficient access to clean drinking water and with natural barriers, the island was left with no clear path of achieving full access to safely managed water. Cases like these call for micro-grids. But they are not isolated incidents. From island communities to inland pockets of settlements, some communities find it challenging to fit into the usually prescribed solution to water (large grids fed from central water treatment facility and piped a long distance).
Micro grids are not just a solution for the developing world, indeed recently I was glad to hear of a community in Switzerland that is accessing water through a borehole-fed micro-grid. Not everyone wants to move to the city to access basic services. Microgrids offer an alternative and financially sustainable way to provide piped water to homes in such communities.
Through the generous partnership of Water4, Matelas Dodoma, Government of Rwanda and the residents of Ishywa, we have been able to offer the people of Ishywa Island a lasting solution through INUMA ™ groundwater solar Kiosks. You can learn more about INUMA by getting in touch with us.
We believe, solutions such as INUMA™ can truly expand access to rural and perri-urban areas finally reaching the BoP and the last mile in achieving SDG6 and a better world for all. Water is a shared resource, it should be available safe to all for a better and more resilient society.
“Water for Society – Including All”