Many  of you are aware that we have been diligently looking for a ways to address the water crisis in our area.  It has been a slow process, because there is no quick or easy or single solution.  The problem is complex and multi-faceted, so it must also be addressed in multiple ways.  Let me bring you up to speed on the current situation…

 

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First, you may know that Lemuel does have two wells drilled on the Plateau.  The reality is, though, that these wells do not even produce 4 gallons per minute…that means that they do not even reach the lowest measure on standard water level scales.  Not only that, but the water they produce has high levels of Total Disolved Solids (in other words, it’s very brackish)…and that means that the water can actually CAUSE dehydration and hypertension.  Nevertheless, they have provided a measure of relief now that other nearby natural water sources have dried up.

 

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A second way that we have sought to alleviate the suffering in the immediate is by helping area families to construct a water cistern at their home.  These cisterns can be filled by our water truck.   Last month, we also completed the first community cistern, built for a neighboring area.  However, there is a negative reality to this option. The trucks have to drive at least an hour to purchase this water from a community called Ti Karenaj.  The length of the drive is not the biggest problem; it is the roads, which are extremely hard on the vehicles. The trucks break down frequently.  Tires wear out in record time, and they are incredibly expensive.  This water has literally saved us in the midst of this drought; however, we must also seek other solutions.

 

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You may remember that in April 2015, we were able to do an extensive hydro-geological water study to look for groundwater in our area.  The basic analysis: no water….except for possibly 500 feet underground in an area several miles away.  “Several miles away” on the Plateau means in an entirely different community where we have little direct influence.

The company who did the study gave us an 80% chance of finding water, and then a 50% chance that the water we found (if we found any) would be drinkable.  Finding a company willing to drive a drill rig way out here to drill over 500 feet for an exploratory well would be quite a large undertaking. However, we decided to move forward step by step and see how the Lord would direct.

The very first thing to do would be to buy the land where we would need to drill.  Negotiations with the community appeared to be going well at first.  However, someone or some people started spreading a false idea among the people in this other community that if they sold the land to Lemuel, they would get none of the water.  This is categorically untrue.  Unfortunately though, the people changed their minds, and are currently refusing to sell.

So, this option is now tabled.

 

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The back of our first water truck has the words of Jesus from John 4 written on the back: “Jesus answered…whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.”

 

We have also been considering the possibility of partnering in a greater way with the same community from which we currently buy our water (Ti Karenaj).  There is a huge aquifer that runs through this area, and there is potential to partner with a new initiative that has been begun there.  The details of this option are still being evaluated.

 

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And finally, Manis has been rallying the people from our immediate area and those surrounding us to pull together and take action to capture the large amounts of water that sometimes come rushing through the dry riverbeds from the mountains.  This will involve lots of digging to divert the water into water holes.

That is a brief snapshot of where things stand at the moment.  As we make progress, we will continue to keep you updated.

Of course, all of these things demand a lot of time, research, communications, and planning.  For that reason, we would like to introduce you to our new Water Solutions Coordinator!  To meet him, please read the next post.

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