Date of Award
Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)
College, School or Department Name
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
David W. Watkins
Access to improved potable water sources is recognized as one of the key factors in improving health and alleviating global poverty. In recently years, substantial investments have been made internationally in potable water infrastructure projects, allowing 2.3 billion people to gain access to potable water from 1990-2012. One such project was planned and installed in Solla, Togo, a rural village in the northern part of the country, from 2010-2012. Ethnographic studies revealed that, while the community has access to potable water, an estimated 45% of the village’s 1500 residents still rely on unprotected sources for drinking and cooking. Additionally, inequality in system use based on income level was revealed, with the higher income groups accessing the system more regularly than lower income groups. Cost, as well as the availability of cheaper sources, was identified as the main deterrent from using the new water distribution system. A new water-pricing scheme is investigated here with the intention of making the system accessible to a greater percentage of the population.
Since 2012, a village-level water committee has been responsible for operations and maintenance (O&M), fulfilling the community management model that is recommended by many development theorists in order to create sustainable projects. The water committee received post-construction support, mostly in the form of technical support during system breakdowns, from the Togolese Ministry of Water and Sanitation (MWSVH). While this support has been valuable in maintaining a functional water supply system in Solla, the water committee still has managerial challenges, particularly with billing and fee collection. As a result, the water committee has only received 2% - 25% of the fees owed at each private connection and public tap stand, making their finances vulnerable when future repairs and capital replacements are necessary. A new management structure is proposed by the MWSVH that will pay utilities workers a wage and will hire an accountant in order to improve the local management and increase revenue. This proposal is analyzed under the new water pricing schemes that are presented.
Initially, the rural water supply system was powered by a diesel-generator, but in 2013, a solar photo-voltaic power supply was installed. The new system proved a fiscal improvement for the village water committee, since it drastically reduced their annual O&M costs. However, the new system pumps a smaller volume of water on a daily basis and did not meet the community’s water needs during the dry season of 2014. A hydraulic network model was developed to investigate the system’s reliability under diesel-generator (DGPS) and solar photovoltaic (PVPS) power supplies. Additionally, a new system layout is proposed for the PVPS that allows pumping directly into the distribution line, circumventing the high head associated with pumping solely to the storage tank. It was determined that this new layout would allow for a greater volume of water to be provided to the demand points over the course of a day, meeting a greater fraction of the demand than with the current layout.
Sherrin, Alicia R., "WATER USE AND SYSTEM RELIABILITY UNDER DIESELGENERATOR AND SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC POWERED PUMPING SYSTEMS: A CASE STUDY OF SOLLA TOGO", Master's report, Michigan Technological University, 2015.