| Wells construction: hand dug and hand drilled |
|Section one: Planning|
|Chapter 1: Introduction to wells planning|
The degree of community participation and control may be the most important factors in determining the success of any wells construction project. The ideal situation is that the entire project be completely controlled and run by the local people. This, however, is often not possible. It therefore becomes the task of the development worker to see that a community in need of a better water supply is encouraged to realize that need and act to meet it.
It is usually best to use the decision-making systems that have already been established and accepted by the community. These systems vary between open town meeting-type forums where everyone who wishes to can speak, and a relatively closed council or other politically established group or person. In all cases, each of the various possibilities for well construction should be fairly presented so that whatever decisions are made realistically reflect the needs and concerns of the decision-making unit.
Some kind of organized educational campaign should be an integral part of every water supply improvement project. The benefits to be gained from using larger quantities of clean water are not often understood by the local users. Unless they can be convinced of the benefits clean water can bring to them and their children, they are not likely to make effective use of a newly developed water source. In societies where change is often very slow, such an attitude change will take time. Only when the people become willing to act on their understanding of the importance of clean water and what needs to be done to keep it clean can any water supply improvement project be truly successful.
This educational effort is probably one of the most important and difficult aspects of water supply development. Even with a massive education campaign, real I change may take many years. But without it, a supply of clean water may mean nothing.
Such a campaign of education is especially important for the future maintenance of the well. If people can see clean water as being vital to them, they will be willing to occasionally spend a little time or money to keep their water supply safe. However, where people are not involved in planning and, to some extent, construction from the beginning,no amount of general education later will be effective.