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Solar Panel Powers Pump that Brings Water Daily to Quake-hit Households

A solar panel installed in October 2017 powers a pump bringing up 40,000 litres of water per day to the remote village of Shikharpur in Nepal, 7 February 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation / Adela Suliman

A solar panel in a remote village of Shikharpur powers a pump that provides around 40,000 liters of water daily to families in the area, reports Reuters.

Why it matters:

  • Nepal is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2015. Help has not been enough owing to reasons ranging from aid funding delays to a fuel blockade.
  • The panel installed in October 2017 has helped the villagers of the Shikharpur in ways more than one.

What they are saying:

  • “In Shikharpur, located about 50 km (31 miles) from the capital, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake left most households without access to drinking water,” said Ram Prasad Bolakhe, a community leader.
  • “There were many problems,” he said, listing destroyed homes, contaminated water, and frequent power outages.
  • To improve access to clean water, a project led by British charity Renewable World set up a solar-powered pump that collects underground water and transfers it up 72 meters (236 ft) to the Himalayan village, where it is stored in tanks.
  • “The system serves about 120 households and a school,” said Bolakhe, with each family paying for their own use based on water meter readings.
  • The climate-smart technology has significantly improved people’s health, Bolakhe told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that better sanitation and access to drinking water have limited the spread of water-borne diseases.
  • “Before (the pump) we used to walk two or three hours a day to collect water,” said Daley Sarki, a vegetable farmer in the village.
  • She added that time she has saved by no longer having to walk far to fetch water has allowed her and other women farmers to take up second jobs – in her case as a laborer on a dairy farm.
  • “My income has doubled,” she said, noting proudly that she can now grow crops, including tomatoes and cauliflowers, for two seasons a year.

According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, the project also trains farmers to use water more efficiently, grow off-season vegetables such as sweet peppers under plastic sheets that serve as makeshift greenhouses, and promote their produce to local markets and traders.

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