Kyangwali refugee settlement was established in the 1960s to accommodate Rwandan refugees. After many Rwandans repatriated voluntarily in 1994, the settlement has hosted mostly Congolese refugees.
South Sudanese and Congolese (DRC) refugees first entered Kyangwali in 1996 and 1997 respectively. By 2002, the population was slightly above 40,000 refugees with majority South Sudanese; however, when South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, many South Sudanese Refugees in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement repatriated leaving the Settlement to be dominated by Congolese.
This repatriation led to the drop in the number of refugees to slightly above 20,000 people but the start of a new refugee influx from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in mid-December 2017, has nearly doubled the refugee population in Kyangwali from 36,713 in December 2017 to 109,207 at the end of July 2019. This large influx of refugees has added even more strain to the water shortage problem
The insufficient water points in and around the settlement serving both refugees and the host community have led to severe congestion and long queues making the collecting of water particularly difficult, not to mention the walking distance to reach the water point. The delivery of water is often delayed with trucks arriving at irregular times.
Grundfos approved distributor Aptech Africa Ltd, whose headquarters are based in Kampala, Uganda focuses on solar energy and water pumping systems. Aptech Africa Ltd recently designed, built and installed a solar-powered pumping system in Kikuube District, Uganda, that houses the Kyangwali refugee settlement. The system, consisting of a Grundfos SP30-35 borehole pump fitted with a 30kW 380V AC motor connected to a Grundfos 37kW RSI Solar Inverter, is designed to deliver 32,000 liters of water per hour and feeds two 218,000 liter tanks that deliver water to a 3,8-kilometre pipeline. This pipeline services 25,000 people that can now draw water from 25 distribution points, each with 4 taps.
Not only does the system reduce the long queues, time and energy taken to access water, but it will also help reduce the risk of gender-based violence against women and children, who otherwise had to collect water at distant and congested water points.