Thames Water installs safe supplies and sanitation for 13,000 Bangladesh villagers

Children get clean water to wash in Shakhipur village

Children get clean water to wash in Shakhipur village - Credit: Thames Water promo

The man who headed construction of the water network for last summer’s Olympics in east London has taken engineers to Bangladesh this week as part of an aid programme to install clean supplies and sanitation for the country’s poorest villages.

Thames Water’s Clive Dickens is overseeing the WaterAid charity’s four-year project now half-way through which has so far fitted clean supplies and sanitation in four villages that the company has ‘adopted’.

Around 13,000 villagers are now getting safe water to drink and hygienic sanitation.

“Water-related diseases are responsible for a quarter of all deaths in Bangladesh,” he said.

“We take clean water for granted in the UK. But many poor areas have no pipes, no waste systems and no toilets.

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“Villagers have no choice but drink dirty water—it’s heart-breaking, but our scheme is doing its little bit to help.”

Groundwater is often contaminated by saline, arsenic and iron, he points out. The few wells that exist frequently dry up due to a declining water table, forcing villagers to walk long distances to collect water from rivers and ponds contaminated by rubbish and human waste.

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Around 700 hand pumps and water facilities have been installed so far, along with 1,000 toilets including 49 schools.

The company’s staff and contractors are holding events through the year to raise £2 million for the work, including raft races, skydiving, clay pigeon shoots, bake-offs and taking part in the London Marathon.

The four-year project will provide clean water and safe sanitation for 40,000 villagers By 2015.

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