Support the project!
This is written by our partner Yennenga Progress Secretary General Stina Berge. INUG are supporting Yennenga Progress in deepening a dam in Burkina Faso. Engineers from INUG have calculated the digging that has been made by a group of teenagers in May this year.
When I left Nakamtenga in May to return to Sweden for the summer, the landscape was okra colored, and the animals was in desperation searching for something green to fill their empty stomachs. The boys were still digging to deepen the dam.
When I came back the 15th of August the picture was completely different. The grass was dark green and juicy, the cereals on the fields were already more than a meter high. The Nakamtenga dam was filled to the rim with water – a sight for the gods. I was so happy because I had been afraid that the digging to deepen the dam we had done in May should damage the impenetrability of the bottom layer. Had my fear been unfounded?
Now a month later, I am not as sure it did not. During the month we have had several good rains, but in spite of that, the water level in the dam has gone down a bit to fast. That is a bit disturbing. Nevertheless, nothing can be done now. We have to wait some month before we can draw any conclusions.
This is the pre-study that was done before we started digging
Different areas have different conditions to access water. Nakamtenga is a small village in one of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso. The country has no coastline and lies on Sahara’s edge. Desertification is a palpable fact. The great river that is visible on the map only has water during the rainy season. Infant mortality is alarmingly high and access to clean water and sanitation is vanishingly small.
Members of Yennenga Progress Burkina Faso
Yennenga Progress has been for some time been fortunate tao have members in the area, which have gradually solved the issue of water shortage in different ways. People are creative, strong and committed. By working with Engineers Without Borders Stockholm we have the opportunity to see what research and expertise in other areas can contribute, to develop the project.
Availability to water is a prerequisite for all operations at the Centre de l’Esprit Ouvert and for the people living in the area. We are convinced of the importance of a major investment in water, the development of society, and especially reducing child mortality.
The area has a smaller pond (see photo above) that hold water during the rainy season (June – September) until February. The project group in Sweden makes a drawing of how the pond will be deepened. The drawing is sent to project managers on site who begins digging with a group of dedicated young people in the village who also will get job for some months. By simple means we will deepening the pond so that it holds water throughout the year. The pond is important for example drinking water for animals, laundering, and vegetation. When there is access to water throughout the year possibilities opens up to realize the dream to have a fish farm in the pond.
Measurements of the existing dam and percolation test has been done in Nakamtenga (see picture above) and has been sent to the project group in Sweden. Based on this documentation the group will make a drawing how and where it will be dug for the pond on the best way to retain water throughout the year;
The goal is to excavate 2000 cubic meters before the rainy season starts. The rainy season normally begins in June and ends normally in September / October and then it rains more than 600-10000 mm.
The cost of the project is to hire unemployed teenagers in Nakamtenga to make the digging. The cost is about 35 SEK/m3. Roughly estimated, we need about 65 000 SEK (about 7 000 Euro) to dig more than 2000 cubic meters to get water all year round in the pond.
There is a risk that the infiltration of water will be higher if we are digging away the surface layer which is now available on the pond bottom. The laterite which forms the surface layer (and probably deeper layers) on the ground is dried by the sun in dry periods. Although it is a very hard material with almost no water getting through. A percolation test is done (see picture above) to give us information on the geotechnical conditions further down in the ground. Our opinion is that the bottom does not need to be sealed, this is now investigated by an geological engeenier for further evaluation.
Another risk is that not enough resources will be collected and the pond will not be extended sufficiently.
The current dam keeps the water around until January (December in some extra dry years). The goal is that the dam will hold water until the next rainy season and thus never dry out. If so, would it be possible to raise fish in the pond that would be lucrative for the village and very desirable.
There is a lake nearby that is used mainly for irrigation of agriculture. However, this dust is also too small for local agriculture. The results and conclusions of this project can be used to extend even this dam.
Children and Teachers at the Pre School in Nakamtenga http://www.yennengaprogress.se/projects/nakamtenga
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