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Meet George Otaka, our Hydro-geologist

At Fields of Life you will often hear us talking about “Drillers”, “Boreholes”, “WASH” and perhaps even “Water User Committees”. However, there is one word that you may not hear often but that is crucial in successfully achieving our drilling objectives; “Hydro-geologist”.

We asked George Otaka, the Fields of Life hydro-geologist about his work and what it entails.

What does hydro-geology mean?

“Hydro” means water and “Geology” means ground. Technically it is the study of the formation of the earth and the processes that control it. For ease of understanding, it is all about ground water. 80% of the population is supplied by ground water, especially in the rural communities, as it is relatively safer than surface water.

What does your work entail?

I find and recommend the most likely location for drilling, this is known as the siting of boreholes. Then I supervise the drilling process which includes digging, pump testing, sampling for water analysis, casting and then performance monitoring. We involve the community in this entire process through community mobilisation and sensitisation at the beginning, village mapping to find the most appropriate location for the well and then finally training of the Water User Committees on well use, protection and maintenance.

What is a key skill required for your job?

I would say accuracy, one cannot afford to be inaccurate in estimations and drilling recommendations. Any mistake comes at a highcost!

What is the most challenging thing about your job role?

Sometimes we hit dry wells. This has been especially true for the Mubende District, Western Uganda, which is in the dry belt region of Uganda and our drillers have been stationed there for a year now! Getting a dry well means that the ground water found is not sufficient and would possibly run out within a day. This is after drilling for an average of two days. So what do we do in a situation like this? We backfill the hole and try again. That is why our drillers have been stationed in Mubende for so long. There is a need to be met and we must meet it!

What motivates you to go to work every morning?

Water is such an important resource, especially in communities that scarcely have it. It is true that in bringing water, one brings life. Aside from physical water, we also bring spiritual water with the Christian values embedded in our work. We share God’s Word and distribute Bibles to the Water User Committees to eliminate not just physical, but spiritual thirst too.

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