MINUSMA sources water supply in Mali

Wed, 19/02/14

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has overcome several logistical challenges to enable access to drinking water in the north of the country.

The issue of access to fresh water is particularly acute in Northen Mali. The resources barely respond to the growing needs of populations and to the deployment of MINUSMA and the blue helmets settling in several camps in the north of the country. A new logistical challenge for MINUSMA is not to impact on the resources of the population. It is also part of its mandate which integrates, for the first time in the history of peacekeeping, an environmental footprint component.

Many thorough studies have been conducted: satellite imaging, soil sampling, laboratory analysis of water. The engineers then drilled deep wells in order to access water for its base in Timbuktu.

This drilling will not affect the hydaulic resources of the population. The "rotary" method of drilling was used because of the sedimentary terrain. The first well reaches groundwater, 52 m (170 ft) below the surface. It ends at 72 meters (236 ft) below the surface with a 2m (6 ft) margin. The 20 m water shaft will be usable in all seasons and there is no risk of drying up thanks to the proximity of river Niger.

The first tests with an underwater pump, taking into consideration the hydrogeological potential of the region, indicate that this first drilling can reach a rate of 18 m3/h.

The boring of the second well has already started. Once completed, the well will produce water for the workers at MINUSMA. The rational use of this resource will be a priority and the Mission intends to recycle water as much as possible.

The operation conducted in Timbuktu will be repeated at other MINUSMA bases.

MINUSMA strives not to affect existing resources and to deploy its technology to service local populations. A new boring project for the exclusive use of the population will be shared in the coming days with stakeholders and governmental authorities in charge of water supplies in the region of Timbuktu. Similar projects are planned at other sites where MINUSMA is being deployed.