Projects in Vanuatu

Project: Potable water for the village of Ikiti, Tanna

eerste waterval

Current situation

In July 2014 I was invited by chief Thomas of the village Ikiti on Tanna to visit his village. Ikiti is a small village in the mountains of South West Tanna. The village lies a few hours walk from the main road. There is a dirt road up to all the villages in the mountains. But because of the tropic rainfall, the road cannot be used a lot of the time. When we went there, we had to walk the last part for about an hour, because of the bad condition of the road.

The request of the chief was (and is) to help finding funds for new pipes and concrete, so they can build a new drinking water system. In the village live about 20 families. For their drinking water they are solely dependent on the waterfalls in the mountains. Before 1960 people used to climb down the rocks to the small rivers for drinking water. Around 1960 a British Bishop came to Ikiti and provided funds and knowledge to build the first drinking water system for the area. The idea was simple and ingenious. He built a small basin under a waterfall above the villages. See photo above. From this small basin, a pipe leads the water to a lower big basin of about 2000 liters. From the big basin, three pipes lead to five villages (two pipes are divided along the way). For more than 50 years these five villages have been able to benefit from this system. During the years some issues raised. Above the waterfall there are a few villages, who also keep pigs. Because of that, the water is not as clean as it used to be. The people now have to cook the water before drinking. The small basin regularly falls dry or gets clogged by leaves. And during the years, the pipes needed a lot of repairs. Which is to be expected after more than 50 years.

Plans for the future

The plan is to rebuild the water system, using a waterfall at a higher altitude. Nobody lives above that waterfall. That way, the water will always be clean and the five villages will have potable water. I have visited the current basin and climbed up the mountain to the waterfall where the new basin has to be build. It took a few hours walking before we reached it. Ikiti and the other four villages need funds to build their new potable water system. They are capable of building the whole system themselves. But they don’t have funds to buy the pipes, concrete, equipment and tools.