Taps and splitters: transforming the characteristics of the water supply

29th August 2016

Map of Ikchung
Map of Ikchung made by UK Volunteer James

Another issue is the informal sharing of pipes. Often several houses are served by a single feed. To save time collecting water from communal points, families have run separate sections to their own homes without the correct pipe fittings to support them. They have to swap out each other’s feeds to supply their own homes and this is unmanaged and unregulated. Consequently, a house’s water supply can be dictated by another person’s use several junctions up.

We identified this problem when creating a map of the village as part of our Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) which details the locations of houses, water access points and water pipes. It became apparent that lots of the issues with the water supply could be solved by quick and simple intervention of installing taps at water access points and splitters at the junctions of pipes. Taps prevent water from being wasted, maintaining water pressure throughout the system. Splitters eliminate the problems associated with plugging and unplugging each other’s pipes. There was a concern that the water pressure would be insufficient to support the splitters, but this was mitigated by connecting the taps first.

As our time in Ikchung draws to a close, we have installed around 50 taps and 70 splitters, transforming the characteristics of the water supply to the village and improving water access all year around. A particular highlight was when we discovered that there was now enough water pressure to create a permanent overhead shower for the community!

Despite yielding significant improvements, the system continues to be unideal. The lower half of the village are still at the mercy of the water practices at the top, and the nature of the unburied jungle of pipes means they are highly vulnerable to breakages. RADO have completed designs for a secondary source to feed the lower half of the village and the next cycle of ICS volunteers will implement this. They will also work towards strengthening the Water User Committee, which should mean more finances available to resolve problems as they arise, resulting in a more robust system in the future.

Another issue is the informal sharing of pipes. Often several houses are served by a single feed. To save time collecting water from communal points, families have run separate sections to their own homes without the correct pipe fittings to support them. They have to swap out each other’s feeds to supply their own homes and this is unmanaged and unregulated. Consequently, a house’s water supply can be dictated by another person’s use several junctions up.

We identified this problem when creating a map of the village as part of our Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) which details the locations of houses, water access points and water pipes. It became apparent that lots of the issues with the water supply could be solved by quick and simple intervention of installing taps at water access points and splitters at the junctions of pipes. Taps prevent water from being wasted, maintaining water pressure throughout the system. Splitters eliminate the problems associated with plugging and unplugging each other’s pipes. There was a concern that the water pressure would be insufficient to support the splitters, but this was mitigated by connecting the taps first.

As our time in Ikchung draws to a close, we have installed around 50 taps and 70 splitters, transforming the characteristics of the water supply to the village and improving water access all year around. A particular highlight was when we discovered that there was now enough water pressure to create a permanent overhead shower for the community!

Despite yielding significant improvements, the system continues to be unideal. The lower half of the village are still at the mercy of the water practices at the top, and the nature of the unburied jungle of pipes means they are highly vulnerable to breakages. RADO have completed designs for a secondary source to feed the lower half of the village and the next cycle of ICS volunteers will implement this. They will also work towards strengthening the Water User Committee, which should mean more finances available to resolve problems as they arise, resulting in a more robust system in the future.

Here are few pictures after installing taps at water access points and splitters at the junctions of pipes.

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