As with the bearings, seals are also particularly susceptible to wear and damage by contaminants such as sand which can be picked up in the bores of the well and drawn up through the pump. This is minimised by the design of the bore liners which are made of durable plastic and initially sealed at the end which enters the underground water course. They are then drilled with multiple perforations that allow the ingress of water but minimises contaminants, however the holes cut into the pipe have to allow sufficient water to provide a clean flow to the pump, which means some sand or fine grit is inevitably drawn up and this constantly and progressively wears the bores, seals and bearings.
We have tried introducing filters into the system, but these tend to get clogged fairly quickly and are too inaccessible to continually clean. We have had to accept the limitations of the system we use and work on the replacement of parts as they become worn. We hope we will eventually be able to look at pumps that will have integral filters, but these are currently beyond our means, and obtaining clean water from less reliable pumps is better than no water!
Seals have just been changed on this well in Golawoma village.
It is the tradition in many regions of Sierra Leone for water to still be collected from the nearest rivers and springs by the women of the villages. This often means walking considerable distances, carrying heavy containers full of water. When a well is established in a village we try to locate it in the most accessible position for the village, usually near the centre (dependant on the geology of the situation). This allows everyone easy access, it minimises the time consuming and laborious collection activities, the need for water storage is reduced and time is thereby created for more essential productive work such as tending to crops and trades by both men and women.
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