Solar pumped water systems are common in the Sahel region but are failing earlier than expected—we were tasked to investigate
In the Sahel region, solar-powered groundwater-based systems are popular for sustainable community water supply. However, many installed systems are failing earlier than expected, which the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) engaged our team to investigate.
We conducted a field study in Senegal and Niger including interviews, field observations, water quality tests, equipment inspections, and management assessments to determine the sustainability of 80 existing solar photovoltaic (PV) pumping sites and boreholes. Conclusions and recommendations were provided to USAID on the solar components and borehole design, construction, operation, and maintenance. We also developed guidelines and specifications for the design, construction, and operation of these systems for rural communities. The results were presented in brief, easy-to-use documents intended for development professionals, planners, and contractors.
Results were also shared with government agencies, NGOs, drilling contractors, and consulting professionals in a two-day workshop including field visits to demonstrate appropriate technologies and installations. This work will be used to improve current and future applications throughout the Sahel region.
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