Press Release – UNICEF
Hawkes Bay engineer Adam Pearse is making life easier for rural communities in Vanuatu with a specially designed water system that will provide access to clean water for thousands of people, as part of a project funded by UNICEF NZ (UN Childrens Fund) …
Thursday 4 July, 2013
Hawkes Bay Engineer Designs New Water System for Vanuatu Communities
Hawkes Bay engineer Adam Pearse is making life easier for rural communities in Vanuatu with a specially designed water system that will provide access to clean water for thousands of people, as part of a project funded by UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund) and the New Zealand Government’s Partnerships for International Development Fund.
In Tafea province on Tanna Island in Vanuatu, women and children must collect water from springs and streams far below their villages, sometimes three or four times a day. Adam has used his engineering experience to develop a water pump that can handle the harsh conditions on the Island and, over the next three years, he and his sister Lisa will oversee the installation of pumps, tanks and pipe systems to 23 villages in Tafea province.
The Pearses first learned about the difficulties accessing clean water from Iahlu George, a Ni-Vanuatu seasonal worker whom they befriended in Napier. “A large number of communities are situated at the top of ravines and the water sources are at the ravine floor, a fair distance from where the water is needed,” Adam said. “Iahlu also explained to us that what makes water access even more difficult is the treacherous walk the women and children have to take down steep muddy slopes to collect water for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning.”
“I thought there must be a way that I could help Iahlu and his community so I modified a water pump that is easy to maintain and repair with the limited materials found in the area. I planned to try out one pump to see how it went, but after the first one was so successful, all neighbouring communities wanted one too.”
Adam’s water pump uses the kinetic energy of a stream to pump a small percentage of the flow up the pipe to the village, requiring no fuel. As part of the new project, Adam, Lisa and Iahlu will not only install the systems, but also provide training to communities in how to operate and maintain them. Part of the programme is the creation of small businesses specialising in the installation and maintenance of the systems.
The pumps are just part of a larger project that aims to improve the health of 31 communities (approximately 5,600 people) through installation of water and sanitation systems and education and training to improve community hygiene practices.
Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ said, “Access to safe water and sanitation is a basic human right and is essential for community health. It is fantastic that, as part of this water and sanitation project, we have been able to call on a little Kiwi ingenuity to help make life safer and easier for communities in Vanuatu.”