Our 1st Well, 15 Years Later

This is the story of Water4’s first official well and how it’s still pumping water today.

In February of 2009, less than six months after Water4 was officially incorporated, founder Dick Greenly visited Zambia to help teach Carmen Brubacher and her team how to manually drill wells. Together, they chose to dig a well at the newly built community school called the Makasa School, to ensure kids could have safe water while they learned.

At the time, Water4 used the manual “sludging method” to drill the well, moving a pipe up and down with a pulley system in a hole filled with water, loosening and suspending soil in mud, and pumping the mud out of the borehole with a valve. While simple, this method requires a lot of hard work!

By the end of the week, the team had drilled both this well and another in the area and installed a Grundfos solar pump at Makasa School. The well provided water for a few months before some of the components of the solar pump were stolen. Luckily, the school now knew Carmen and reached out to have a common India Mark II hand pump installed over top of the still functioning borehole, including a casing for the borehole with a finer screen to catch more sand and improve the quality of water.

For the next eleven years, the hand pump worked for the school but required regular maintenance from what was, by that point, Carmen’s and Water4’s business, Access Water4 Zambia. The internal components of the pump were metal, and therefore rusting. So in 2020, alongside Living Water Project, Access Water4 Zambia replaced the pump with a new Afridev pump with non-corrosive plastic components and signed the school up for an affordable monthly maintenance program called “PiN (Pump Insurance)” to help them avoid the larger costs of a pump breaking down.

Now, our technicians visit it monthly, and it is still pumping water. This is just one well of over 10,000 in Water4’s story and shows how far we’ve come! We’ve changed the way we drill wells with a more efficient manual drilling rig, replaced hand pumps with solar pumps with piped water due to customer demand, branded and scaled this approach with our NUMA treated piped water systems, and even learned how to build partnerships with local governments in order to bring these solutions to more and more people. The one constant is the desire and drive to ensure that people have safe water for life!

Here’s to fifteen years of Water4, fifteen years of safe water at Makasa School, and forever to come!

Scroll to Top