LUPUTA, Democratic Republic of the Congo — 17 April 2009 — Residents of the town of Luputa in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo are celebrating the arrival of clean, fresh water to a region which has known only scarce water from shallow wells since the 1950’s. A dependable water system has been in the works for the last few years but residents lacked the money to complete it. ( Newsroom first reported on this story last summer .)
Humanitarian service missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knew the Church was in a position to assist. After much discussion and review of what would be required to pipe clean water 19 miles through five communities, the Church helped to fund the project.
The Church pledged not only money but, also engineering services. A Church representative in the area, Celestin Kubangila Kamanda, said the people are grateful to the Church for providing the means to complete the project.
“The people have said the Church has given a great lesson about charity and the golden rule,” Said Kamanda.
A water distribution system of smaller pipes will take the water throughout the village of Tshiabobo to 40 water stations. All the trenches are hand dug by the people in the villages who will receive the water. On one given day, 83 people were requested to clear foliage to make room for the pipeline, and 206 showed up to work.
A significant benefit of this type of water line is it requires no pump or electricity. Spring-capture systems require virtually no maintenance and they last three times longer compared to wells. Even in the dry season, the spring source for the project continues to flow at over six gallons per second.
The people have contributed $3,000, which they used to develop the spring sources. Residents will manage the gravity-fed system through a community water and sanitation board. The board’s charge is to ensure water quality, determine fees and perform regular maintenance.
The completion of the first phase of the Luputa water line includes a nine inch pipe which feeds water from a nearby source and carries it nine miles to the village of Tshiabobo. Phases two and three include extending the pipeline another ten miles to Luputa. Once the entire project is complete more than 166,000 people will have clean water.
This article was prepared by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom at lds.org.