World leading pump manufacturer Grundfos has gained a contract from Red Cross in Kenya, Africa, for 100 water supply systems from its subsidiary Lifelink over the next five years, reports professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer). The contract will bring the Lifelink concept from its current test level among 3,000 people in Kenya into a commercial product.
Peter Todbjerg Hansen, managing director of Grundfos Lifelink, told Ingeniøren that Red Rross has chosen a donation model where the organisation selects the villages that will be supplied with a system, which is then paid for by Red Cross. The 100 systems will cover the water supply for approx. 150,000 people.
The Lifelink system is a single-point water supply with a submersible borehole pump that is powered by energy from solar panels. Water is pumped to an elevated storage tank, whereupon it is led by gravity to a tap unit in a small house. The tap unit also serves as a payment facility, where users can use their mobile phones to tank water. The local community owns the system which is paid via microloans, while surplus is returned to the community. The user payment also covers a service scheme, so faults in the system are repaired by locally trained service people.
Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen, technical advisor in the international department of Danish Red Cross, said that services are a very important factor when Red Cross chooses system suppliers. "The systems often fail because of a lack of maintenance. Another thing that makes Lifelink attractive is the payment system which prevents the money going into the wrong pockets. Grundfos has taken these things into account at the same time as the system is running on solar energy."
Grundfos Lifelink's water systems are designed to provide safe drinking water to small communities, market places, hospitals, orphanages, and schools in rural areas around the world.