This project seeks to provide potable water for 5 villages in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains. Approximately 60% of rural Moroccans lack piped potable water. Unhealthy drinking water causes frighteningly high infant mortality (many families lose half their children to water-borne diseases), shorter life spans and reduced energy for livelihoods. Further, time spent to procure non-potable water adds to the already substantial burden of women and girls and prevents their participation in education.
Lacking potable water, villagers drink from irrigation ditches and streams that contain high rates of harmful micro-organisms (due to being open and pre-used by upstream communities and animals). The terrain is such that there is no water table to access with wells. Springs are usually in areas extremely far or inaccessible from villages - such as rocky escarpments near the top of mountains. Infant mortality reaches 186 deaths per 1,000 births, more than 4 times the official national average.
To provide potable water to 5 villages, the project establishes essential infrastructure - a gravity-flow water system that pipes pure water from distant springs to reservoirs built above villages, from which water runs through distribution systems to public taps near houses, schools and mosques. The project uses local building techniques, knowledge and resources - and trains 2 people from each village before, during and after construction, to ensure that appropriate ongoing maintenance occurs.
Long-term goals are: 1) completion of potable water systems in 5 High Atlas villages; 2) reduction in water-borne diseases and halving of infant mortality; 3) greater awareness of health issues and changes in hygiene and sanitation practices; 4) greater availability of time for women and girls to engage in education and income generating activities; 5) heightened capacities to maintain water systems and initiate development activities; and 6) creation of a model of inter-agency collaboration.