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Sketch of the Latakwen solar powered water system. (Not drawn to scale.)

The first clean water project Voss Foundation ever built was a solar-powered water system funded by VOSS Water and constructed by Milgis Trust in the community of Latakwen in Samburu, Kenya.

Five years after the project was completed, Voss Foundation’s Program Officer, Caitlin Rackish, visited Latakwen on her recent trip, and drew a rough sketch to map out the system. See the page from her notebook above!

The well, on the left of the sketch, is located near the dry riverbed, or lugga. The well was d

ug by hand, 23 meters deep. During the rainy season, the water level can rise to within 3 feet of the top. The solar panels, which power the solar pump, are approximately 25 meters away, up the hill the community used to climb to access clean water before our project. Alongside the solar panels is the hut for the two watchmen who are responsible for guarding the well and solar panels. (NB: Voss Foundation budgets with Milgis Trust include an annual salary of the watchmen for five years.) The watchmen have their own small water storage tank. The well, solar panels, and hut are surrounded by a natural fence made of brush.

Usually the water pumped from the well goes to a main storage tank, and then to three access points at (1) the school; (2) the dispensary; and (3) the community kiosk. The main pipeline goes all the way from the header tank to the 10,000L storage tank at the school, the farthest point to the right of the drawing, and then to the standpipe next to the school kitchen. There are two branches along the pipeline en route to the school. The first is at the main t-joint, and takes water directly to the 10,000L storage tank and standpipe at the dispensary, or health clinic. The second t-joint along the main pipeline is halfway to the school. The branch formed at t

his t-joint takes water to the community kiosk.

Unfortunately, when Caitlin visited in March 2014, the main tank was cracked. Until Milgis Trust are able to work with the community to replace it, they have put a t-joint at the pipeline to divert the water directly to the water access points instead of to the main storage, so that everyone can continue to have access to clean, safe water until the header tank can be fixed.

In the coming weeks, Caitlin will be posting more photos and a five-year update so you can learn more aboutLatakwen, and see just how access to clean water has changed peoples’ daily lives and the community as a whole!


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