Geology for Global Development

Borehole Implementation in Tanzania: The Story of Kabalekela

Joel Gill writes about the implementation of a borehole in Kabalekela, a village in the north-west of Tanzania.

In 2009 and 2010 I visited the village of Kabalekela in the Kagera region of Tanzania to observe the situation there with regards to access to clean and safe water. In short, the village severely struggled to access any clean water. The nearest sources were several kilometres away, and there was no groundwater within digging distance. It was highly likely that a deep borehole would be necessary to provide this community with the safe water they desperately needed. Boreholes, however are expensive options, especially in such a rural location that is hard to access by road.

The Tumaini Fund, a charity operating in the region, persisted in working with the local community to help them get access to clean water. They managed to secure the necessary funds, and a couple of weeks ago a borehole was implemented in this village. A contractor was hired to conduct a geophysical survey, and drill to 80m. Commendably, the Tumani Fund have also worked hard to establish a Water User Group to manage and maintain the water source – which will supply over a thousand people.

The series of photos below give you a taste of the story from 2009-2013, including initial surveying, evaluation of drilling companies, construction and water quality testing. The borehole you see in the final photo will now have a pump attached, a fence built around it, and with sustainable operation and maintenance programmes in place, should last for many years – revolutionising the healthcare, education and income generation of the entire community.

Joel is the Founder/Director of Geology for Global Development (@Geo_Dev) an organisation working to support geologists to make a sustainable contribution to the fight against global poverty. He is an interdisciplinary researcher, with a PhD in geography (natural hazards), and research interests in multi-hazard frameworks, disaster risk reduction, rural water projects, and sustainable development. This work has taken him to Chile, China, Guatemala, India, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Joel is currently based at the British Geological Survey, and tweets at @JoelCGill.