Potable water is essential to the improvement of West Sumbanese livelihood. It is the foundation for a healthier living environment that eludes the majority of the population.
Sumba is a dry island in which many of the ancient traditional villages are situated on fortified hilltop locations, far from the water sources in the valleys below. Most villagers have never had easy access to water and must walk three to five kilometers to the nearest productive spring or river. The water they carry back to the village is used primarily for their livestock and cooking; they often do not have the option of using the water to bathe their children or themselves.
In the Foundation’s surveys of the schools and clinics in the area it was found that over 90% did not have running water nor do they have a water source nearby. None had functioning toilets. Conditions in the villages are similar. As a result, the hygiene conditions in general are extremely bad and an ideal breeding ground for disease.
We have an experienced drilling team that is equipped to drill deep wells and install the pumps required to provide water in the traditional hilltop villages. We also have several teams digging shallow wells where feasible. Since we started drilling and digging in 2001:
- We have drilled or hand dug 48 wells
- Our 21 generators and submersible pumps are in daily use distributing water to water stations at villages
- 191 water stations have been constructed
- 39 hand pumps are in place at smaller wells
- 133 water tanks have been installed that have a daily storage capacity of 450,000 liters (175,976 gallons)
- 49 kilometers (24 miles) of water pipe are in the ground
- More than 15, 185 people living in 164 villages are receiving clean water from our projects.
- 16 schools are supplied with clean water
- Five Sumba Foundation and eight government clinics are supplied with clean water from our wells
Our water projects have changed thousands of people’s lives - and each month these numbers are increasing.
The Nihiwatu Community Development Program believes that small-scale initiatives bring much better tangible results. The Program provides clean water to villages and constructs wells and toilet blocks in local schools and health centers. By providing a source of clean, safe drinking water to those in need, we are preventing waterborne disease and circumventing the need to treat it. For those without access to doctors and antibiotics, this prevention is literally life saving.
The Worldwide Water Crisis
In this day and age, the statistics are seemingly unbelievable – 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and nearly 2 million people die each year due to waterborne-related disease (90% of which are children under the age of 5). As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a worldwide water crisis among the world’s poorest people. Further, the UN has declared 2005–2015 Water for Life: The International Decade for Action.
“Every week, diarrhoeal disease due to easily preventable causes claims the lives of 30,000 people, most of them young children. This is a silent humanitarian crisis that thwarts progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). The consequences of our collective failure to tackle this problem are the dimmed prospects for the billions of people locked in a cycle of poverty and disease… I urge everyone to look at World Water Day as another occasion to renew their commitment to providing clean, safe water to all who need it.”
– Statement of former WHO Director-General, Dr. LEE Jong-Wook, to mark the International Decade for Action: Water for Life 2005-2015, 3/21/2005