Water at our Kikuyu Home & New Water Tank Need
“And you will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” – Isaiah 58
It’s no secret that water is a source of life. At our home in Kikuyu water fuels our daily routines, growing gardens and meals together – much like water in your home.
It’s also no secret that infrastructure in Kenya can often be a challenge. However, we have been fortunate to have a reliable borehole on our property which the home depends on 100% for its water source. We’d like to share more about water at the Kikuyu home and how this resource is used through each day. And we’d like to share a need with you: a new water tank and infrastructure update.
The Kikuyu property has a large garden and three smaller gardens next to each cottage. With the help of the aunties and uncles at the home, the children enjoy helping grow a quality supply of produce for the home and selling any excess to community members who then sell to nearby markets.
In the large gardens, we have a sprinkler system and some drip irrigation systems installed to water the crops during dry seasons (November – April). Coriander, potatoes, corn, onions, tomatoes are staple crops for the home. Nearby, we’ve started a young orchard with avocado, mango, passion fruit (these trees are already starting to produce fruit!), and papaya trees.
The older children have their own economic initiative in the smaller gardens next to their cottages. An idea from Uncle Sam, the boys are growing peas, kale, and the traditional African herb managu. Tending the gardens and watering them with buckets, they sell these items to the kitchen. They’re certainly working hard, learning responsibility, how to save money and eventually how to spend money as a group. The boys will be allowed to make a collective purchase for their cottage. What do you think they’ll want to purchase?
There are 50 kids cared for at our Kikuyu home, which means many daily routines and meals shared together.
Here is a snapshot of some of the little ones washing their hands before lunch and being coached by Auntie Mary to wash well.
Washing clothes of the children and caregivers employs quite a bit of water – simply imagine laundry for 50 kids! The home has smaller washing machines used mostly to do laundry for the younger kids. The older kids are taught to wash their own school uniforms by hand in order to ease the load on the machines – this requires plenty of water to wash and rinse thoroughly.
The elevated water demands and inefficient existing infrastructure has forced the pumps to run 24h causing supreme electricity costs. Additionally, power outages are normal in Kenya which escalates the water shortage so we installed a generator so that frequent power outages didn’t completely cut off our water supply. (The current water tank is underground, downhill to home buildings, so water supply requires double the pumping and double the electricity. Once water is pumped from the borehole into the underground tank, the water needs to be pumped again from underneath the earth to supply the home. The new infrastructure update will help us cut our power usage and bills by approximately 30%).
We have dealt with power outages by using the generator sparingly when needed; however this has been a temporary solution and we’d like to implement a long-term, more sustainable system to keep water available even when power is not and as a result, lower our electricity bills.
During the summer time, the home needs 15,000L of water a day.
Updating Our Infrastructure
Here’s our water tank at Kitalale, which is elevated and reliable.
The project to update our Kikuyu water infrastructure includes a new water tank of approximately 24,000L, a platform to elevate the water tank similar to the above photo (the bulk of the cost) and updated plumbing. This solution will ensure an increase in volume, supply and pressure to the system.
The total cost for this project is approximately $14,000 US with the following breakdown:
- $2,980 – Roto Tank 24,000L
- $7,946 – Fabricated steel structure to elevate the tank for gravity flow
- $1,600 – New piping/plumbing
- $820 – New water meters and valves
Will you consider partnering with us on this infrastructure update?
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