Water Well Journal

November 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/592194

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Page 26 of 90

D avid Powell can't explain it. The 55-year-old, type-A personality is calmer work- ing in Ghana than he is managing his third-generation family business of 20-plus employees here in the United States. It's a head-scratcher. "To some degree, the stakes are life and death in Ghana, and I'm just totally different," says Powell, CWD/PI, presi- dent of Edward Powell Pump & Well Drilling Inc. in Aston, Pennsylvania. "I thought I'd be crazier over there but I'm not. Some things are out of my control because of working with the government so I have to take a back seat and chill a little bit." Powell is cofounder and president of Wells for Relief Inter- national Inc., an organization with a mission of providing safe drinking water throughout the world. It was established in 2004. In that time Powell has learned this: "Working with people—it's more that than it is physical and putting the bore- hole in and installing the hand pump. That's really just the start of the whole process." This philosophy is shared by many working in the ground- water industry—water well contractors, manufacturers and suppliers, and scientists and engineers. How water relief or- ganizations confront this challenge is where differing opinions emerge along with their definition of sustainability. Regardless, the sustainability of hand pumps is of great concern in both developing and developed nations, says Michael E. Campana, Ph.D., professor of hydrogeology and water resources management at Oregon State University. "Hand pumps endure a tremendous amount of wear and tear and researchers are constantly seeking to improve dura- bility," explains Campana, a board member of the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation and past chair of the National Ground Water Association Scientists and Engineers Division Board of Directors. "The problem is very durable materials are likely more ex- pensive and perhaps heavier than less durable ones, although advances in material science are producing more durable yet lighter materials. But these materials could put the cost of pumps beyond the realm of those in developing regions or make pumps more susceptible to vandalism and scavenging." Sensing a need to change, Powell is now forging a new path in the way Wells for Relief International fosters self- sufficiency in poverty-stricken villages in Ghana. No doubt it's an exciting chapter in the organization's history, Powell rests in the fact only time will tell if it succeeds. Mapping out hand pumps In a unique partnership beginning in spring 2014, the Vil- lanova University College of Engineering has begun conduct- ing geographic information system (GIS) mapping of all the Organizations work to ensure water well hand pumps continue to operate after installation in developing nations. By Mike Price Congo Frontline Missions drills with a Little Beaver LS200H portable rig in Obilo, a village in the Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in June 2012. The drilling formation was sand. Photo courtesy Congo Frontline Missions. WWJ November 2015 23 Twitter @WaterWellJournl Sustaining the Future THE FUTURE continues on page 24 (COVER STORY)

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