Access to drinking water to halt the spread of disease

To prevent epidemics caused by poor quality water, students of engineers who are members of the Idées association have been working with villagers in Madagascar to install permanent water supply systems.

Humanitarian and Development

Alakamisy-Ambohimaha, Madagascar

Jean-Claude Rimlinger

10,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2004/07/06

Project leader

IDEES (Ingénieurs pour le Développement et les Echanges)


In 2003, a group of students in engineering who are members of the Idées association met with villagers from the rural community of Alakamisy-Ambohimaha, in Madagascar. The purpose of this fact-finding mission was to evaluate the type of water supply system required, listen to proposals from the local population and conduct a feasibility study. Back in France, they realised that for the systems to be truly'"sustainable" they would need to be constructed and maintained by villagers. Closely advised by Jean-Claude Rimlinger, a Veolia Waterforce/Waterdev volunteer and the project's sponsor, they opted for three gravity-feed water supply systems. Back in Madagascar, they helped set up a water committee (the local decision-making entity) in each of the three villages concerned. This is responsible for digging out the ditches required for the water supply systems. At the end of 2004, the Idée students installed the culverts, tanks, and pipelines which will be completed by installation of standpipes for water distribution. Finally, they proposed and established a system of annual water rates to be collected by the water committee in order to cover maintenance costs.
The local population will soon be able to carry out maintenance of its drinking water supply system itself. This development is an effective way of preventing epidemics (particularly cholera) which blight the region. Within a few months, Idées is planning to finish its work by building toilet blocks, showers, waste incineration pits, etc. The Veolia foundation is providing 10,000 euros towards the purchase of equipment.

Progress report

Guaranteeing the future water supply

The three water supply systems are now running. The water management committee, formed and trained by Idées, has set up an economic system acceptable to (and accepted by) the population: each inhabitant over 18 years of age pays it an annual fee of 10 000 Madagascar francs (1.52 euros). This money is used to keep the installations in good working order and to seriously continue to guarantee consumption.

The chairman of the committee has also received sufficient training to dispense eight in in turn to the youths in a community.
The tank in which the water is initially stored is still largely oversized with regard to the needs of the local population: the managers of Idées and of the village community wanted to anticipatethe growing needs of the inhabitants, contingent in particular on the foreseeable expansion of the population.