THE Matebeleng community in Quthing can finally access clean water after 15 years of relying on an open and unprotected well. This after the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) last week unveiled a new water system consisting of two springs whose water is pumped into a hilltop 15 000 litre storage tank.
From there, the force of gravity enables the water to flow into communal taps.
The UNICEF-funded project is a welcome relief to 329 households which had relied on a single well for the past 15 years.
According to one villager, ‘Manepo Mphephoka, the water in the well was perennially dirty and seldom enough for all the villagers.
This forced them to walk a two-hour distance to fetch water from the Masitise and Senqu rivers.
“We used to spend long nights queuing for water because the well never had enough water during the dry season,” Ms Mphephoka said, adding, “On some nights were would take our blankets to sleep in the queue”.
“In addition, the water in the well was always dirty and sometimes we found human waste and cow dung and all kinds of litter.”
However, such problems are in the past now after UNICEF rehabilitated the community’s water system. All in all, UNICEF has spent M4 million funding water projects in Maseru, Qacha’s Nek, Mohale’s Hoek, Thaba-Tseka, Mokhotlong, Mafeteng and Quthing.
Speaking at the handover ceremony the Democratic Congress (DC)’s Moyeni legislator, Mahooana Khati, expressed gratitude to UNICEF for coming to the aid of the local communities in his constituency.
“We are grateful that today we are getting water and we hope that in future, although the government does not have resources, we will be getting roads and electricity which we do not have at the moment.
“Now that we have access to water, I urge the villagers to guard the infrastructure jealously so that it is not vandalised,” Mr Khati said.
On his part, Water Affairs Minister, Nkaku Kabi, said the provision of clean water will enable school children to arrive at school on time as they will no longer be burdened with travelling long distances to fetch water before going to school.
“With the taps close by, learners will be able to fetch water without any struggle,” Mr Kabi said. He said his ministry was working hard to ensure that all communities have access to clean tap water.
UNICEF also partnered with the Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) to donate tippy taps to 71 households in Matebeleng to promote good hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases.
Tippy Taps are simple and economical hand-washing stations made with commonly available materials.
A tippy tap works by using the foot to tap a lever to tip water out from a container. It means hands can be washed without touching the stand — therefore stopping the spread of dirt and bacteria.
Speaking at the same ceremony, LRCS secretary general Kopano Masilo said his organisation so far handed over 1978 tippy taps to Quthing households this year.