South Sudan Well Rehab Projects – Phase 1

This project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association, along with Water is Basic.

Water Charity is pleased to announce this PHASE 1 of our South Sudan Well Rehab Program, designed to help the people of South Sudan by rehabilitating wells and repairing pumps across the country.  The program began with TORE, of Central Equatoria State, where renewed violence has made it difficult for us to check up on the communities.  When the security situation is better, we will get back to these sites, and post updates, but all of these wells have in fact been rehabilitated. 

Meanwhile, we are continuing with multiple well rehabs in Yei County where many are displaced from the last 2 years of violence in Unity and Jonglei States. South Sudan has struggled for decades, and as a nation that is less than five years old, it is just now slowly able to define its culture, educate its people, and redevelop its resources. Many communities are unable to provide the basic, healthy, necessities for themselves, due to the previous destruction of war that ravaged and contaminated a plethora of local resources. Water is chief among these resources.


1) Bandame Community, Mundu, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 02. 499’ E: 030° 58. 054’

2) Do’bo Area, Baka, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
N: 04° 30. 757 E: 030° 09. 390 ́

3) Hai Mundari, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 30. 121 ́ E: 030° 09. 517

4) Kuronyangi Area, Avokaya, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS: N: 04° 29. 489 ́ E: 030° 09. 810 ́

5) Mukpara Primary School, Baka, Tore, Yei River County Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 30. 514 ́ E: 030° 08. 621 ́

6) Munze Community, Baka, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 30. 486 ́ E: 030° 09. 147 ́

7) Prokele Community, Avokaya, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N:04° 27. 092 ́ E: 030° 11. 807 ́

8) Purini Area, Avokaya, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 29. 227 ́     E: 030° 09. 461 ́

9) Ramba Area, Avokaya, Tore, Yei River County, Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 28. 207 ́ E: 030° 10. 397 ́

10) Tore Centre, Tore, Yei River County Central Equatoria State
GPS Reading: N: 04° 29. 440 ́ E: 030° 09 723 ́

Community Description
1) Bandame Community is located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State, and is home to 60 households.

2) The village of Do’bo Area is in the Tore region, the most dangerous part of South Sudan, as of late, due to rebels fighting against the government and spreading great fear through the local communities with kidnappings and car burnings. The thirty households of the village are dedicated to cultural developmen. However, when the borehole broke down, the members of the area had to turn their attention to basic survival. After the borehole was fixed and the community received training, the village was able to refocus on community development as they redefined equality within the region by creating a borehole management committee that was composed of both men and women.

3) Hai Mundari is located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State. The community houses sixty households, all participating in agriculture.

4) Kuronyangi Area is located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State. The community is home to fifty households and a health center. Kuronyangi is a community dedicated to sustaining the individuals of its community

5) Mukpara is located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State. The village is home to a primary school. With an excess of children to provide clean and safe drinking water to, the community of Mukpara is very aware of the importance of an abundant, healthy water source. The extensive length between the community and the closest, natural water source is difficult for the children at the local primary school.

6) Munze Community is located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State. The village is home to a primary school. Partially relying on farming, the members of Munze require water for both domestic and economical improvement. The Munze Community’s original water source was an extraordinary distance away, forcing the community members to spend most of their time walking or looking for closer water sources

7) Located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State, Prokele Community is home to 60 households.

8) Purini Area is located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State. The village residents are determined to be as self-reliant on the land, as possible. However, during times such as the dry season, it becomes unbearably difficult to rely on natural water sources, between lack of rain and stagnant open water sources.

9) Located in the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State, Ramba Area is home to 60 households and community that has strived and best succeeded at female empowerment and engagement in local organization.

10) Tore Centre is in the heart of the Tore region, approximately 25 kilometers west of Yei Town, within the Central Equatoria State. The Centre is home to sixty households and a marketplace, a gathering area and major economic hub for all surrounding villages within the Tore region.

Problem Addressed
In addition to the basic problem of each village–that of having a borehole that no longer works–each village has their own issues as well:

1) The original borehole was drilled 70 meters deep and flows 5 meters per hour. The women of Bandame Community have struggled with the excessive time required to search for clean water. Even if they find clean water, such as private boreholes nearby, it can become very expensive for them to gather water for both agricultural and domestic use.

2) Before the drilling and after the original breakdown of the borehole, the community faced a water crisis, especially in the dry season, as they fought bilharzias and hook worms from the local contaminated and open bodies of water. The borehole was originally drilled 55 meters deep, with the ability to pump at 6 meters every third of an hour.

3) The original well was drilled at 65 meters deep, and has the ability to pump 3.5 cubic meters per hour. Much of the community has been burdened with a 4 kilometer walk to the nearest water source. This walk causes more problems than just taking individuals away from their daily work. Women, as the leading domestic workers, are faced with severe neck, spine, and leg complications from carrying large jugs of water atop their head, over these long distances. These complications grow exponentially when the women have to take the trip multiple times a day, when they have to gather water for both their crops and domestic purposes.

4) The original borehole was drilled at 45 meters, with the ability to pump 6.2 cubic meters per hour. The extensive ability of this borehole was due to the health center’s growing need for clean water. The fifty households and health center are very aware of the cost of health far exceeding the cost of clean water, as they watched many who searched for clean water contract both external and internal injuries when any water found was unsanitary.

5) The original well was drilled 60 meters deep, and has the ability to pump water at 4.8 cubic meters per hour. The length the children have to walk decreases the attendance at the school, as many children have to struggle with the choice between dehydration and education, daily. Of course, as the water source used outside of the borehole is very shallow, the likelihood of infection from drinking the water increases. The young and elderly suffer from disease the most, leaving many sick from typhoid, cough, and hook worms, and missing out on more of their education.

6) The original borehole was drilled 65 meters deep, with the ability to pump at 5.2 cubic meters per hour. The borehole was broken for three months before it was fixed; the question of whether to provide water for their crops or family being a question that many within the Munze Community was forced to ask themselves during this time.

7) The well was originally drilled at 65 meters, with the ability to pump water at 5 cubic meters per hour. Originally, Prokele gathered its water from a river, nearby. Like most open water sources in South Sudan, the river was contaminated from animal excrement and many people using the water for washing. The forest that the community had to trek through to get to the river is as scary as some of the diseases that many have contracted from drinking the contaminated water.

8) During the rainy season, the people of Purini are very resourceful in collecting water, capturing running and clean water from the roof tops of the buildings. However, the dry season is much longer and forces many in the community to walk 3 to 4 kilometers to the closest stream, usually shallow and stagnant. This kind of water causes bilharzias, forcing many to put the little money they make farming into medical bills. The original well was drilled at 65 meters, with the ability to pump 4.8 cubic meters per hour when it works.

9) The original well was drilled at 65 meters, and is able to pump at 3.5 cubic meters per hour. The original repair was done via flashing and installation of parts. Many parts are rusted due to the climate and deteriorate quickly due to over-extended use from mismanagement.

10) The original borehole was drilled at 50 meters, with the ability to pump 6.7 cubic meters per hour. Through installation of new parts, the borehole will be able to be repaired. As many water natural water sources are used for bathing, washing, and drinking for both humans and animals, the local water becomes contaminated very quickly. Waste excreted within a small range of the water sources are also a problem when the rainy season comes and washes waste into the areas used for drinking and cooking. The large area of Tore Centre is home to the region’s market place, along with sixty local households. Because of this, many from the surrounding communities flock to Tore Centre, needing hydration during the time spent at the market place, as well as for their journeys back home.

These communities crave education and organization, both usually dedicated to males.  There is a significant lack of use and development among women, as women are required to take care of the household and are not seen fit, usually due to lack of education, to handle the larger, village-wide issues.

When families are able to access clean disease-free water, they are much more likely to leave the squalor of urban areas and return to their land. This movement is crucial for the future of South Sudan as agriculture can help this nation wean itself off of oil money.

Project Impact
More than 520 households, totaling approx. 5,200 people, will benefit from the project.

Clean water close to home provides greater health benefits for the rest of the body, especially for the women carrying the jerrycans full of water on their heads. The close proximity of drinkable water helps children, who have to stop their studies to rehydrate, stay in the classroom longer while increasing their focus as they are not becoming fatigued during the long walks during the heat of the day, between classes.

As many have discovered with African communities, empowering the women has served the community as a whole, through their greater work ethic and dedication to their families and community, the women are able to better utilize time spent searching for water, instead using their time to educate and empower others and spending more time helping farm and run family businesses.

Some village specific impacts:

Through the training via Water Is Basic, the Bandame Community discovered the importance and developed an all-female borehole committee. Both physical health and individual empowerment were established with the repair of the borehole, last year (2015). Negating the long walk to the river, the source Bandame Community used before the borehole was drilled and repaired, the women of the village have been able to establish new routines of educating their family, and developing new organizational tactics within their community. Known to be better at managing and saving funds, the women within the committee have been driven to collect monthly borehole-use funds for future borehole break downs. Unlike the statistics of South Sudan males, females tend to be more honest and community-focused, keeping the collected community funds in the community.  Ramba, also, has established an all-female borehole committee.

The large community of Kuronyangi is very thankful for the work with and by Water Is Basic and EPC, providing the economic and educational assistance to repair and maintain the borehole. The people have been burdened with the bills accrued from many having to go to the hospital as they struggled with diseases such as typhoid and hook worm. The money that is being spent on health care will be able to be transitioned to money going into savings for future borehole repair.

By repairing the borehole in Mukpara, the community will help the children at the local school focus on their education. By empowering the local community members on management and mechanics of the borehole, the community will further empower those attending the school by showing them the importance of education at an early age. Since children suffer from low immune systems, providing healthy drinking water helps their families focus their funds on their children’s education, instead of medical bills; and the close proximity of the well will ensure greater safety for the children and their families during the current time of conflict within the Tore region.

Prokele is dedicated to their, recently received, education, of borehole maintenance. Working with Water Is Basic, the entire community, kids included, focused on understanding how the borehole worked. The community aims to rely solely on their education and the recently formed committee to help the well stay functioning. With so many households to supply water for (60 households), the committee is focused on gathering funds and managing borehole use to ensure the well is not pushed beyond its limits and unnecessarily breaks.

The women of the area were especially struggling, having to make difficult choices between staying hydrated or cleaning their food, which tends to also carry diseases such as diarrhea. The repair of these 10 boreholes is important work that will have a longstanding impact on the health & wellbeing of the villagers in the region.

Detailed Project Description
After receiving detailed requests from public officials listing sites where well repairs are needed, Water is Basic staff gather local people in the village to elect a “Committee” of individuals who will oversee the repairs. Once repairs are complete, the Committee establishes a fee-based collection system for water usage and oversees the well operations. Water usage fees are used for future repairs, and the wells become a Sudanese solution to a Sudanese problem.

The details of each well rehab are unique, but generally include: Steel G1 pipe, cylinder, steel rod, chain, bearings, and other elements being replaced.  Added costs are limited to the feeding of the workers and the fuel to get out to the site.  Much of the costs are borne by local volunteers and in-kind giving from the village itself.

Water is Basic operates an internship program where local promising secondary school graduates manage our projects for one year. In exchange they are given access to distance learning courses and then assisted in applying for and attending university.

Manager/Volunteer Directing Project
Steve Roese is President of Water is Basic U.S. An entrepreneur and pastor, Steve has been involved in South Sudan since 2004 where he has fought alongside his brothers and sisters for peace and opportunity. His motto is “whatever it takes” and he means it when it comes to building the new nation of the Republic of South Sudan.

Water is Basic is a borehole drilling organization in the Republic of South Sudan birthed and led by Sudanese religious leaders in response to the country’s water crises. It is a Sudanese solution to a Sudanese problem.

The focus of this operation is to develop self-sustaining water systems, managed and operated by local villages. It is the mission to build communities and empower the Sudanese to implement solutions to their water crises.

There are two employees of the U.S. organization. A dozen volunteers contribute their time annually to promote awareness of South Sudan and the devastation caused by lack of water.

The U.S. organization provides technical expertise to the South Sudan organization, and assists with the development of South Sudan networks to further the mission of the organization. They also train South Sudanese to run and manage well systems, and keep the water sanitary. Additionally, staff work to build public awareness and raise funds to help the South Sudanese develop and maintain clean water systems.

Bishop Elias Taban leads efforts of Water is Basic South Sudan. A former Colonel in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and founder of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sudan, Taban is an engineer, entrepreneur and pastor who is highly respected throughout all circles in South Sudan. He co-founded Water is Basic and has founded and run three orphanages, two hospitals, and a trucking company that helps to fund these works. Bishop Taban is a tireless leader for solutions that build into the people and infrastructure of South Sudan.

The South Sudan organization employs 25 Sudanese including drilling technicians, cooks, mechanics, water quality technicians, village liaisons, drivers, logisticians, and story reporters.

The organization also utilizes thousands of volunteers who work to manage and oversee operations of wells once they are installed or restored.

Monitoring & Maintenance
Water Is Basic educates and empowers the community by helping them learn the importance of diverse and equal organization. The water committee becomes a reconciliation tool as mixed genders, tribes and religions work together to manage the community well. By aiding the village to develop a committee and manage and maintain their well, the village is able to collect and save money to dedicate to future repairs.

Funding & Comments
The cost of all 10 well repairs was $13,500. This includes cement, labor, installation of new parts, and training for future repairs and management.

This project is fully funded thanks to the generosity of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. If you would like to contribute to this work, use the donate button on the program page.

This project falls under the South Sudan Well Rehab Program as part of our ongoing East Africa Water & Sanitation Program.  Due to the disproportionate benefit of these well rehabs to women and girls, we classify this work as LGL+.  This means it is not an “official” Let Girls Learn project, but is in keeping with the spirit and objectives of that initiative.

This project has been completed.  To read about the background of this project, CLICK HERE.