Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WaTER Center Travels to Ghana

WaTER Center doctoral student Philip Deal and center director and CEES professor David Sabatini travelled to Ghana in July.  The purpose of the trip was twofold – to evaluate a private company’s abilities to manufacture drilling equipment, train professional drilling teams and provide a full water delivery service to rural communities in Ghana and attend the 39th Water Engineering and Development Centre International Conference in Kumasi, Ghana, to share details of their collaboration model with the academic community.

The WaTER Center, the Water4 Foundation and IDEA are collaborating with Access Development Ltd., a privately held Ghanaian company located in the western region of the country.  In addition to providing a full water delivery service to rural communities in Ghana, ADL will manufacture drilling equipment and train professional drilling teams who will dig and maintain boreholes so that contracted villages will have clean water year round. Finally, ADL will charge a miniscule tariff for these services upfront in order to recover the costs for service and prevent the breakdown of the ADL infrastructure. All of these actions combine to form a service delivery model, a concept under research at the University of the University of Oxford and IRC.

The rural water delivery service began last fall, and its initial implementation is expected to last four years. Phase 1, which included preliminary planning, mobilization, and baseline studies, was recently finished in April. Phases 2 and 3, which include training and the start of drilling, will proceed this year.

The WaTER Center will evaluate the company from technological, financial, and behavioral perspectives.  Baseline studies are well along to completion. Deal and Sabatini will address the efficacy of the project to date as well as hopes for the future at the WEDC conference.  Over the next few years, metrics such as well performance, maintenance periods, operational costs, water purchasing rates, and how the socioeconomic framework affects the company’s success will be tracked to evaluate the sustainability of the project. The WaTER Center is excited to play a role in helping to determine if this is the next step in public-private partnerships in emerging regions.  Stay tuned!