Mercilin8The Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program will deliver clean drinking water to another remote Kenyan community in 2010, thanks to the generous support of the program’s sponsors.

The aim of the Safe Water 3 project is to provide an accessible and hygienic drinking water supply for a poor rural community in western Kenya which currently extracts untreated drinking water from a contaminated dam.

This will be achieved by installing a SkyJuice™ SkyStation, an ingenious water treatment unit that utilises membrane microfiltration to purify dam water without the need for chemicals or power.

The unit used is supplied by the Skyjuice Foundation, a major project partner.

The site of Safe Water 3 is a dam known locally as Yawo Ochilo. The dam is located at Nyajouk in the Alego area in the southern parts of Siaya district, Nyaza Provence, Western Kenya.

Tweed Shire Council’s Sustainable Agriculture Program Leader Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca will facilitate the project, travelling to Kenya early next year to deliver and assist the local community in commissioning the equipment.

“I am very excited about travelling to Kenya next year to assist in delivering safe water to the Ochilo community,” Mr Garcia-Cuenca said.

“I know it will be a major challenge but there are also major rewards in knowing the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program will be making a real difference to people’s lives.”

Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program Committee chairman Tom Alletson thanked the sponsors of the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program, which include Tweed Shire Council staff who will raise $18,000 this financial year, matched dollar-for-dollar by Tweed Shire Council.

“In particular, I would like thank and welcome on board new sponsors Alec and Mary Peden and the Thiess family,” Mr Alletson said.

“Every dollar of donated money will have a direct benefit on the ground. This project will deliver a minimum daily capacity of 20,000 litres of clean, safe water for a project cost of under $40,000.

“There is a need and opportunity for other local businesses and individuals to support this project if they are able.” he said.

The first Safe Water project was delivered in March 2007 in the village of Obambo Kadenge, while the second was in the village of Tinga in November 2008.

“The current project involved installation of a water purification plant in very similar circumstances to those of Obambo Kadenge and Yawo Tinga,” Mr Alletson said.

“The experience gained through implementation of Safe Water 1 and 2 projects have made us confident that the project delivery model and technological approach adopted for is sound and achievable.”

The Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program is an initiative of Tweed Shire Council and the International Riverfoundation.

The other officers to volunteer their time for Safe Water projects were Marty Hancock – Safe Water 1 (2007), who is Council’s Assistant Water and Wastewater Operations Engineer, and Tom Alletson – Safe Water 2 (2008), Council’s Waterways Program Leader.

For more information go to Council’s website www.tweed.nsw.gov.au

PICTURE: A rural Kenyan girl named Mercilin with the turbid water she used to drink (contaminated by human and animal waste and industrial pollution) and the water she now drinks which is clean, safe and up to World Health Organisation standards. The water treatment project in her village was carried out by the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program.