China-assisted water project benefits millions in rural Senegal

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Children play next to a well supplied by China in a village in Senegal, July 15, 2019. Photo Xinhua.

On a hot, dry morning in late November, Mbake Diom, a villager from the village of Khodjil Baling in Senegal, a West African nation, began his day with the routine work of drawing water from a newly drilled well in his village, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Diom, an employee of the Chinese construction company CGCOC Group Senegal Branch who completed the well project, was responsible for the maintenance of the Chinese well which is becoming an important source of water for the villagers.

While he was busy checking the machine’s functions and filling the engine with diesel, the villager said the well, which is part of the China-funded rural well drilling project in Senegal, made changes. important in the life of the local population.

Senegal, close to the Sahara Desert, has a long dry season. The center and east of the country are mostly semi-desert regions. During the dry season, temperatures could rise to nearly 45 degrees Celsius. Under such difficult conditions, local water supply equipment is easily degraded. In villages far from cities, people often do not have easy access to clean, safe water.

The village of Khojil Baling was one of those places suffering from a severe lack of water. According to Diom, the village only had one well and residents had to wait in long queues to fetch water from dawn until midnight.

“Before the water supply project was finished, I had to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to find water. I had to walk more than two kilometers to reach the old well ”, – said Khemesse Faye, a local villager.

“We had to get to the well very early because there was always a long line. And as a result, many young people had dropped out of school ”, – said Demba Tine, another villager.

Their lives have improved since September 20, 2018, a special big day for the village of Khojil Baling as locals witnessed the completion of the new well assisted by China. This well was part of a rural well drilling project, consisting of 251 wells and 1,800 km of water pipes that China had committed to finance in Senegal, for the benefit of one seventh of the Senegalese population. .

People draw water from a Chinese-funded well in a village in Senegal on August 31, 2018. Photo by Xinhua.

In Senegal, the rural well-drilling project officially began on March 5, 2017, bringing hope to millions of people struggling with water shortages. The project was also part of the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in 2015.

The project covers 12 of the 14 regions of Senegal, and each project water supply system consists of wells, water towers, pipelines and distribution facilities with a maximum daily supply capacity of 80 000 cubic meters. The project has also created jobs for more than 3,000 residents, including Diom.

In March, the entire project was handed over to the Senegalese government.

“The projects reflect our solidarity and cooperation (with China). We talked about hospitals, clinics and the rural well-drilling project”, – Senegalese Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall said.

Children play next to a well supplied by China in a village in Senegal, September 11, 2018. Photo Xinhua.

The implementation of these projects had encountered many difficulties, and yet Chinese engineers and local workers braved the challenges. Diom revealed that workers sometimes had to spend more than a week to find a suitable location for the drilling.

“Transportation is also one of the main challenges we faced. During the rainy season, drilling was very difficult because there were no decent roads here”, – he said.

“In March 2021, the water supply project was completely handed over to the Senegalese government. Villagers now have access to clean and sufficient drinking water. And water for crops and livestock can also be guaranteed ”, – said Wang Wei, head of the CGCOC Senegal branch.

“We are sincerely grateful for the efforts of the Chinese government in building this well of happiness for us. We want to thank the Chinese people for bringing us happiness and we want to thank the Belt and Road Initiative, – said Diom.

“We hope that the cooperation between Senegal and China will be further consolidated to create a bright future for our children”, – he said.

A Chinese-assisted water project benefits millions of people in rural Senegal. Video reporter: Wang Zizheng, Cao Kai, Liu Chang, Li Yan; Video editor: Wei Yin, Peng Ying, Li Qin, Wu Yao / Xinhua.

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