In the St Katherines area of South Sinai as well as the village of St Katherines itself many of the small communities have a problem with clean drinking water. Many of the old drinking wells have dried up or been filled in by floods so the only water available is via a government scheme that sells water to the Bedouin. The problem with the water that comes in by truck, is that it is contaminated by pathogenic bacteria and contains mineral salts, both of which make the children ill and can only be used for washing. The Bedouin need clean well water and often they drive for many miles to collect water from distant wells. When they cannot do this, the Bedouin women may have to walk long distances to neighbour’s wells that have good water and where the well owner allows them to take what they need. A Bedouin will never deny water to anyone who needs it meaning that many wells are over used.
The owners of the wells ask for no charge and sometimes as many as 50 women will arrive each day to collect water from a single well. The long term decline in rainfall has caused a drop in the water table so all the wells are going dry. In the summer, when there is greater use of water, levels are lower and there is not enough water for everyone. Many well owners have asked the Makhad Trust for help to deepen and repair their wells. They would also like to make it easier and safer for the women to get their water by pumping water into water tanks that can be accessed by a tap.
The purpose of the project is to repair and deepen many community wells so that there is sufficient drinking water for those who live nearby.
The beneficiaries will be families and communities in St Katherines town, Tarfa, and many areas in the far desert, in a radius of around 50 miles of the town. Each well generally provides water for around 10 to 20 families.
The Makhad Trust assists each well owner with funds to deepen his or her well, to repair the sides, create flood protection and to create easier and safer access for the women via a water storage tank and taps.