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close this bookFood, Water and Family Health: A Manual for Community Educators (UNDP - WHO, 1994, 108 p.)
close this folderUnit 1: Healthy water and better sanitation
View the documentThe problems we have with water
View the documentWays to keep our water supply safe
View the documentGolden rules for safe water
View the documentImproving our environment ourselves
View the documentThe water committee
View the documentWays to make drinking water safer
View the documentLatrines

The water committee

We set up a water committee to decide where to dig new wells. The committee discussed the kinds of wells we needed for home use, and for growing crops and raising animals. A training programme on water and sanitation had been arranged in a nearby community. Several members of our water committee attended the training.

We knew it would cost money to build wells, but we really wanted to put an end to diarrhoea and other diseases. We collected money and opened a bank account. We used this money to pay people to work as well attendants, and for the spare parts for the well which we would need to buy in the future.


The committee chose two women and one man to be trained as well attendants. The three well attendants now maintain and replace all parts of the pump.

The well attendants check the wells every day. They must:

1. Remove mud and rubbish from around the well
2. Check to see that water easily drains away from the pump into drain pits or gardens
3. Check the fences around the well to keep animals away
4. Keep children from playing around wells
5. Check to see that the pumps are working
6. Replace worn-out parts

They can also play a special role in educating the community in ways of making and keeping water safe. They can motivate people to keep the community water supply safe and make their environment a nicer place to live.

We use well water for cooking and growing food. We also decided to collect well water and use the run-off from wells to provide water for community and school gardens.

Our wells are surrounded by concrete aprons. The aprons prevent dirty water from seeping back through the ground into the supply of clean water. Our concrete drains are kept clear of dirt and rubbish so that water can flow easily into the gardens. It is important that water easily drains because puddles near the well become breeding grounds for mosquitos. Standing water and mud around wells are slippery, dirty, and dangerous.

Checklist for getting and maintaining tubewells

1. Set up a water committee
2. Collect money and deposit it in a bank account
3. Hire a good contractor and provide labour for digging wells
4. Install pumps
5. Build a concrete platform with a drain
6. Make a fence around the well
7. Hire and train local men and women to work as well attendants