A trip to the remote and hard-to-get-to villages in Guizhou province in southern China is worth for every adventurous traveler, and especially those who are interested in architecture and culture. Some of China’s ethnic minorities such as the Miao, Lisu, and Dong have lived in this area, that is one of the poorest in mainland China, for centuries, and they still practice their 2,000-year old culture.
The pretty covered ‘wind and rain’ bridges compete with drum towers, and the stilted cedar-wood houses, and wayside pavilions. Although set in the idyllic landscape of never-ending rice terraces dotted with sacred trees, the living conditions for the inhabitants are not quite as peachy.
Ten years ago, Lanba, a mountainous village, in Liping County received a water supply system that is now quickly aging. At a simple water catchment, underground spring water is channeled into a small, plastic tube of 10-millimeter-diameter that runs over 4.8 kilometers to the water cistern 30 meters above the village. From there, smaller pipes are connecting to about one hundred of the individual houses in the village.
The approximately 1,000 villagers who are mostly self-sufficient with rice and are experts in polyphonic choir singing often have to endure water flow interruptions as the feeding valve to the cistern is too small and cannot supply enough water to fill it. When unfiltered water is available in households, it is used for drinking, cooking, hygiene, clothes washing, and other household needs.
Many of these ethnic villages lose a good portion of their younger generation to migration into the major urban areas. However, since the installation of the first water storage tank in Qiandongnan, the population’s health has improved, and the number of people has increased. So, has the need for water.
For better health for their children and elderly and access to water around the clock, villagers collaborate with World Vision and Kohler Company to improve the living conditions in the approximately 200-household community.
Over the period from March to November 2019, the teams will work on replacing the poly supply tube with a new and bigger one, build a second water catchment near the spring, and install a sand filter to better purify the water.
The catchment and the cistern will be cleaned and disinfected and faulty, leaking tubes will be repaired. These actions will ensure the water flow to the village, the water quality to further improve the health conditions, and lower the need for alternative water storage in big plastic buckets that are unsafe and easily get contaminated.
The project is part of several WAsH efforts that the China team undertake in collaboration with non-profit organizations to bring safe water to remote areas in the country and it forms part of Kohler’s worldwide social impact commitment.
Read about our Clarity water filter donation in China.