News 2011

Phase 1 of LXML/MMG Sepon water project underway

In Dec, 2010, Sunlabob commenced the implementation and installation of solar water pumps and distribution systems in Savannakhet province, where 12 villages will be supplied with individual water supply systems.

Sunlabob had earlier in Nov 2010 signed an agreement with MMG to provide clean water solutions and community development to villages that form the community around the Sepon Mine. In general the water resources for these villages are poor; suffering from scarcities and/or quality concerns in the dry season, silting in the wet season and/or being located too far away from the villagers to be collected by hand.

For the first phase of the project and for each site, the first step undertaken is the clearance of UXOs. Operating in one of the most UXO contaminated areas in Laos, Sunlabob maps and pegs the ground before the LXML/MMG UXO team clears the working area from UXOs. Secondly, Sunlabob drills boreholes, from which water would be pumped from. Thirdly, water towers or tanks are constructed. Fourth, Sunlabob installs the piping system, comprising of high-density polyethylene (HDPE)  pipes for water distribution to tap stations in the villages. Fifth, Sunlabob installs solar water pumps and solar systems, whereby solar panels use sunlight to produce energy for the water pumps. Sixth, Sunlabob conducts tests to check that all of the installations and systems are working well, and make adjustments accordingly if needed. Lastly, Sunlabob commissions the installed systems and hands them over to the villages. This phase is scheduled to be completed in the beginning of July.

The systems are constructed using durable material and designed to be highly reliable, with a good reserve of capacity to be upgraded in the future depending on the needs of the villagers. The systems also have low maintenance requirements thus keeping running and operating costs low.

During the second phase, which is due to be completed in the second semester of 2011, Sunlabob will focus on sustainability and conduct training sessions for the village water committee to teach them how to operate and maintain the system, as well as how to manage the system in terms of collecting money from villagers and keeping it in a fund intended for the maintenance of the system.