Of all natural resources water will always be the most precious. If it isn’t readily available we have to travel to find it. And the cost and time taken to retrieve it affect both our lives and the quality of the water itself.
All of which is a familiar story for the villagers on the hills in the Philippines. Without fresh water of their own they had to scramble down the steep slopes to fetch supplies. Limited and poor quality water meant poor hygiene and sanitation, and poor quality crops and livestock.
The AID Foundation's solution was to pump the water to the villagers. Ram pumps, designed by the AID Foundation and manufacturered locally, lift the water from abundant rivers and streams in the valleys to the hillside villages. Pumps come in different sizes and local villagers are trained in installation and maintenance. Initial funding came from government and NGOs with villagers paying a monthly usage fee. By 2010, 170 ram pumps had been installed in 151 villages, bringing fresh water to 50,000 people.
And with water comes a better life. Not only a safer, cleaner environment but more time and potential. Village incomes are estimated to have risen by 30% as crops are grown in the dry season and a wider range of livestock can be farmed. Little wonder then that the AID Foundation has now taken the technology as far afield as Afghanistan and Cambodia.