There are three methods for extracting water from wells. A large majority of them use gravity from wells above the water tanks with a siphon hose to fill the tank. Other wells are spring filled straight into a tank or pool. A third category need to have pumps which are usually fuelled by petrol. In the past, the water would have been extracted from most of these wells by using a hand operated shades or lever. However, with the growing availability of cheap, reliable petrol driven pumps, most Bedouin now use them instead for water extraction.
However, this has made well owners not only reliant on fuel for the motor, but also on a source of spare parts and mechanical expertise, to enable them to continue using their wells. Another issue with petrol driven pumps is that they are a potential source of pollution because of the fuel and oil that is used in their operation.
Furthermore, the Egyptian government has recently started to reduce the subsidy on fuel, which has resulted in the price of fuel nearly doubling over the last 12 months. The price of fuel is expected to increase even more in the near future. This, along with overall increases in costs of living, has make repairs and maintenance of the petrol driven pumps rather expensive.
Hence, to assist the Bedouin, the Makhad Trust has started a new project, where solar powered pumps are installed as replacement for the petrol driven pumps. This method allows automatic pumping of water into a water tank, but it is also sustainable, and does not produce noise or pollution.
During his last journey to Sinai in April 2015, our trustee Dick Stainer organised the installation of a prototype solar pump in Hussein’s garden, high up in the mountains. Now the pump is installed and it is pumping water out of the well automatically to the birka, even when Hussein is not there – which he thinks is magic! We intend this to be the first pump of this type but we hope to get funding for all the wells using petrol driven pumps over the next 5 years