Added: (Wed Oct 18 2000)

Pressbox (Press Release) - A new drilling rig developed by Cranfield University at Silsoe as part of the research project, “Private Sector Participation in Low Cost Water Well Drilling in Africa” received it’s first public demonstration this week. The project aims to place new water supply technology in the hands of small private sector contractors in African countries.

The ‘Pounder’ rig has been developed with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Government and people of Uganda, SIDA, DANIDA and UNICEF. The human powered rig has been designed to construct shallow small diameter wells where the water will be used for domestic and small-scale agricultural purposes.

The rig has been produced as large numbers of people in the developing countries lack a clean fresh water supply. In the past most wells have been provided through aid programmes funded by multilateral and bilateral agencies and non-Governmental organisations. This project, although supported by such agencies, works primarily to strengthen the private sector.

The rigs will fit into community projects, in which local people work alongside small private contractors, with the support of local Government, who in the short term at least will continue to part-fund water supply infrastructure. The Cranfield team has been working with communities, contractors and local Government in Uganda, and will continue to facilitate the linkages between these stakeholders, through local partners.

Dr Richard Carter who has been leading the project at Cranfield is positive about the progress to date. “The long term aim was to reduce the dependency of developing countries on aid funding for basic water supply infrastructure. This project, despite being of a relatively small scale is part of that process.”

Editors Note:
A picture is available showing the demonstration of the rig.

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