Conclusion of Village Well Program Phase I – Madagascar

We have completed the Village Well Program Phase I – Madagascar successfully and a large number of Malagasy people now have access to water.

To read the original project goals and information, CLICK HERE.

We would like to thank Fred Rittelmeyer for his incredible dedication and ability on this project and all the other great work he has done with Water Charity over the years. His management of our projects has always been stellar, the projects are done efficiently and economically, and his reporting is excellent and thorough. We hope to continue helping the people of Madagascar and extend our gratifying partnership with Fred well into the future.

Program Summary: Clean Water Saves Lives!

The Village Well Program Phase I – Madagascar was an outstanding success and exceeded its original goals. It provided critical infrastructure in villages that had little or no existing clean water sources. The Program set out to do 8 wells but was able to have 13 new water wells drilled in 6 new villages, that will provide clean water for as many as 15,000 people in rural Madagascar. Many villages were nearly inaccessible by car and some were only accessible by boat. The work was performed by The Madagascar Water Project with all local labor.

Each well was drilled to an average depth of 7 to 9 meters. Stainless steel well points were used for sand control, stainless steel pipe was used throughout and cast-iron hand-pumps were used on the surface. The pump is mounted on a wooden table held in place at the base on a cement slab. With periodic maintenance performed on the pump, the well will provide clean water for 10 years or more. The Madagascar Water Project trains local technicians to perform routine maintenance as well as provide the tools, spare parts, and a technical helpline if needed.

The Project implemented several measures designed to ensure the sustainability of the wells and help pave the way for the Villagers to improve the health, hygiene and sanitation of their community. The Project Community Relations Coordinator worked with Villagers to form Well Management Committees for each well. Discussions regarding resource management, community participation, health/sanitation/hygiene (WaSH), and well maintenance and repairs were held.  Regular on-site meetings will be held as the project matures and the wells become a more integral part of the communities they serve.

The addition of accessible, community-based sources of clean water will have measurable effects on the community. The incidence of water-borne disease will be reduced significantly, sanitation and hygiene will be improved and infant mortality and the mortality of vulnerable segments of the population will go down. These effects have been seen in similar projects using health statistics collected by the Communes. The Project will track these parameters historically and in the future in order to quantify the impacts of the wells on each community. Based on historical data, it is almost certain these wells will save many lives in the years to come. In addition, with less time required to fulfill the basic need for clean water, people will become more focused on other needs such as education, nutrition, family and improving their own quality of life.

The Project periodically inspects the pumps and wells and performs higher-level maintenance and repairs, when needed, using a Team based in Andovoranto. The Project empowers each village to manage their own resources, but it maintains a helping hand when needed, and a watchful eye to ensure everything goes as planned.

The Village Well Program Phase I – Madagascar improved the quality of life for up to15,085 people in six villages. The location, results and social impact of each well are shown in the table

Commune Village Population Well No. Rate Quality Status
Masomeloka Masomeloka 4610 MWP-49 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-50 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-54 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-55 30 liters/minute good producing
Antaniambo 1300 MWP-57 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-58 30 liters/minute slight color/odor producing
Sohihy 1250 MWP-59 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-60 30 liters/minute good producing
Andranambomaro Andranotsara 1325 MWP-47 30 liters/minute slight color/odor producing
Ampanotoana 5000 MWP-62 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-63 30 liters/minute good producing
Betsizaraina Salehy 1600 MWP-69 30 liters/minute good producing
MWP-70 30 liters/minute good producing
Total 15085

Masomeloka, a population of 4600, is a large village along the Pangalana Channel. It can be reached by road only with 4 Wheel Drive vehicles using three primitive ferries.  Most commerce and passenger traffic are done using boats along the Pangalana. The local economy is dominated by area commerce, fishing, and farming. It has a Catholic Mission with a good school and also a Mosque that broadcasts a call for prayer several times a day.

Prior to our arrival, seven bucket wells and the Pangalana Channel provided the water for the village. Water Charity sponsored four new wells in the village. These wells significantly improved water quality and accessibility to clean water. Well, Management Committees were established for each well and they were provided with guidance to help them manage their new resources.


Antaniambo, population 1300, lies on the west side of the Pangalana Channel. The village barely survives by fishing and farming. It has one over-used bucket well in the center of the village and dirty, narrow access to the Pangalana that is located some distance from the village. This village suffers from extreme poverty, with many of the children showing signs of malnutrition. It is accessible only by boat.

Water Charity sponsored two water wells. Well Management Committees were established for each and they were provided with guidance to help them manage their new resources.  Technicians were trained in pump maintenance and repairs and provided the tools and spare parts to keep them operating.

The village has been given a helping hand to improve their quality of life and health, sanitation, and hygiene in their village. Given this lifeline, we will continue to work with them and see if they use it to pull themselves out of their poverty.


Sohihy, population 1250, is less than a kilometer along the coast of the Pangalana from Antaniambo and they are quite similar. The village survives by fishing and some farming and the quality of life for most is fair at best. Widespread poverty is present. Although Sohihy has no visible humanitarian crisis, the village is quite vulnerable in the event of a flood, storm, poor harvest, disease or another undesirable event.

The village is located on a low-relief sand bar surrounded by a marshy swamp on the west coast of the Channel. It is accessible only by boat or a wet-walk through the swamp. The water table is only one meter below ground level. It has 3 bucket wells, which are exposed to contamination from the surface and probably to flooding in the event of seasonal cyclones.

Water Charity sponsored two wells in the village. Well Management Committees were established for each well and they began the work to care for their new resource and manage them for the improvement of the quality of life in the village. The wells will provide needed stability and quality to their water resources


Andranotsara, population 1325, is a medium-sized village at a ferry crossing on RN11A. The people support themselves with fishing, farming and ferry operations. They lost their only well three years ago. They have made several attempts to dig a replacement well without success. Before our arrival, they relied on the Pangalana for all of their water needs. The quality of life in the village is fair at best.

Water Charity sponsored one well in the center of the village. The Project also had drilling problems with hard formations, breaking the steel pipe once before reaching total depth. A Well Management Committee was formed, and the Project provided guidance on well care, maintenance, and community participation.


Ampanotoana, population 5000, is a very large village accessible by both RN11A and an inlet of the Pangalana Channel. The livelihood of the people is supported primarily through fishing and farming. Considering its large size and good location, the village does not enjoy a good quality of life. Poverty is widespread and intestinal disease claims 50 lives per year.

The village has 5 bucket wells of questionable quality. Water Charity sponsored two new wells in the village. Well Committees were formed, and meetings were held on the utilization of the wells to improve the quality of life and the health, hygiene, and sanitation in the village.


Salehy, population 1600, is the last village along RN11A before it becomes less-accessible to the south. Villagers make their living from farming, fishing, and commerce related to the Pangalana. Three bucket wells provided the only water. The village has grown substantially since the wells were built, leaving some parts of the village without any readily accessible source of water.

Water Charity sponsored two wells, one well in the northern part of the village and another in a densely populated area in the center of the village. These wells significantly improved water quality and accessibility to their water supplies. Well Management Committees were formed for each well and they were quick to assume control of their wells.

The Madagascar Water Project Team 

The photo above, taken at the Salehy well dedication, shows most of the members of the Madagascar Water Project. From left to right: Hilaire – Community Relations Coordinator, Solo – General Manager, Fred Rittelmeyer – Director, Solofo – Driller, Sedera – Lead Driller, Dimanche – Driller, Desi – Driller. Not Shown: Larry – Geologist.

Many Thanks

On behalf of the entire Team, we appreciate your generosity and the opportunity to serve the thousands of people in rural Madagascar in the name of Water Charity. Thank You!