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Providing life-changing safe water supply to rural villages in Morocco

Oct 2019
Morocco
370 people reached

Izgouren and Ilguiloda are home to around 370 people. Being one of the poorest villages in the region, they are in great need for water for drinking, cooking and washing as well as farming.To meet their water needs, they have to walk several kilometres each day. Engineers Without Boarders had identified a solution by constructing water tanks that are fed by a well and supply the water through pipes when and where needed.

Ait Bayoud is a series of villages and one of the most remote communities in Morocco. Izgouren and Ilguiloda are poorest ones, which are home to around 370 people. In addition to needing water for drinking, cooking and washing, these communities support themselves through subsistence farming. Reliable access to water is simply essential to maintain their livelihoods. To meet their water needs, women and children had to walk several kilometres to the nearest spring, often multiple times a day which meant children could often not attend school.

The Columbia University team of Engineers Without Borders supports community-driven development programmes, by collaborating with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects. Their team of around 20 engineers had identified a solution to the water supply issue in these two villages by constructing water tanks that are fed by a well and supply the water through pipes when and where needed.

It took a lot of people, resources, time and effort to make this happen. Borealis and Borouge, through their Water for the World programme, joined the cause and provided funds for the project and the material for over six kilometres of pipeline. BorSafe PE100 HE3490LS ready made compound was chosen for the pipe system due to its long term durability and ease of installation when compared with the alternative of ductile iron.

Local partners PLASTIMA and CMGP also provided material, extruded pipes and valves free of charge. Tarik M’Bitel, from the newly established Borealis and Borouge Sales Office in Morocco, helped coordinate these efforts, while the local NGO High Atlas Foundation ensured all this was in close collaboration with the community. Both the financial and technical support, as well as the provided pipe material, enabled the students and local community to work closely together to construct a 38,000-litre concrete water tank and a rack with the capacity of 20 solar panels, and to lay the pipeline to reach the first village, Ilguiloda.

The Columbia University team will return to the region in 2020 to help expand the system, to reach the second village, Izgouren. The community is taking ownership of the safe water supply system with local people being trained on the correct techniques for installing pipes. After this project’s completion, the focus will shift to educational and women’s development programmes which will help more children attend school and will enable women to work, giving them the opportunity to provide financially for their families.

Just a few months ago, the thought of water reaching the villages was almost unimaginable

Donald Swen — Technical Team Lead from Engineers Without Borders, Columbia University

“Having a dependable water supply is life changing,” says Tarik M’Bitel, Sales Manager in the Borealis and Borouge Office in Morocco. “Our PE pipe materials are more cost efficient, longer lasting and more robust than metal alternatives, and will provide many years of reliable service to these communities.” “Just a few months ago, the thought of water reaching the villages was almost unimaginable,” adds Donald Swen, Technical Team Lead from Engineers Without Borders, Columbia University. “Seeing local people’s reactions when water was pumped to their village was truly something special. We all thank Borealis and Borouge for their support in this humanitarian effort.”