• Sanitation
Start Date:
Apr 2024

Arri Water System Maintenance

Sustaining Clean Water for Years to Come


Prior to building the new Arri Water System, Arri ward had clean water serving only three of the seven villages in the ward. The new system serves all seven villages and provides public water points, free of charge, that are within 500M from each household in all of the Arri villages. The Arri water project is the biggest and most expensive project that Karimu has built to date. The project construction started in 2022 and wrapped up in 2024. It consists of  a water intake, sedimentation tank, a total of 11 distribution tanks,  223 public water points and is expected to have over 400 private water points. The infrastructure covers a total of 130 km (~70 miles) of underground distribution pipes.


Part of Karimu’s agreement with the community to perform construction projects is the requirement to maintain these projects so as to ensure their sustainability. The community commits to such agreements before construction starts. Thus, maintenance of the water system is the responsibility of the community in partnership with the government’s Rural Water System Agency (RUWASA). The community manages water system maintenance through the Arri Water committee.  The Arri Water committee consists of 10 members. 

  • Chairperson

  • Male village representative

  • Female village representative

  • Head Master from one of Arri’s Secondary Schools

  • Head Doctor  from one of Arri’s dispensaries 

  • Village Executive Officer of one of Arri’s villages

  • Chair of Arri Ward

  • Executive Officer of Arri Ward

  • A treasurer and the head maintenance personnel who are hired by the committee


Their responsibilities include

  • Overseeing the work of the water champions.

  • Maintenance of the project through monthly and quarterly checks.

  • Ensure that the incidents are resolved within a month

  • Ensuring the treasurer and maintenance supervisor are doing their work honestly and transparently and to dismiss them if not. 

  • Enforcing the water use rules across the Arri Ward and to prevent water from being wasted or misused and imposing penalties in case of violations.  

  • Educating the community on how to preserve the environment, especially the water source by, for example, planting trees. 


Karimu anticipates three phases in the maturity of water maintenance:

  • Phase 1: Karimu leads the monthly management and maintenance of the project and members of the community join us. The water committee oversees and coordinates fixes to issues found in all the villages of the ward. It collects funds from private water points and is responsible for monitoring and maintaining assets .  Each public water point has a water champion - a community member responsible for inspecting the water point, reporting maintenance issues, ensuring water is not wasted, and that it is used according to our agreement. Water points  may only be used for drinking and cooking, not for irrigation nor for sale. People with private water points pay a fee, depending on whether they are a residence or a business.  All maintenance is funded by fees collected from private water points. Karimu has implemented a water maintenance dashboard for tracking incidents and their resolution. Karimu and the community can see open and closed incidents by village or subvillage, by month, by asset, etc. Private water point construction is funded by the property owner.

  • Phase 2: As the community becomes comfortable with the process, we move to phase 2 where members of the community lead the management and maintenance and Karimu supports them and oversees the process. We do quarterly maintenance checks to ensure the work is being done well and provide feedback to them. 

  • Phase 3: When it becomes clear that the members don't need our involvement anymore, we move to phase 3. In phase 3, Karimu has transferred all maintenance to the community and Karimu is not involved at all.


Karimu is in phase 1 with the Arri water committee. We conduct quarterly maintenance checks along with the members of the water committee. Karimu also involves the water committee in the validation of the fixes monthly. We observe how they perform their monthly maintenance checks and notify them of any shortcomings that we might find during the validation phase.


December 2023 Update: During this period of the year, the region was faced with terrestrial rains, this caused a lot of damage to the water project infrastructure of the existing water project. It was gratifying to see that the water committee worked on fixing the damage and ensuring smooth functioning of the project.


February 2024 Update: During the first  volunteer trip of the year, Karimu realized that the water committee was not giving its best effort in maintaining the water project. This was not entirely unexpected as we had seen the same problems initially in Ayalagaya ward. Changing behavior and implementing new processes takes time, patience, and motivation. Karimu made the decision to stop the construction of new projects in Arri for six months. During this period, Karimu will observe if

  • The water committee performs well in all of Its’ expected roles

  • The leaders in Arri show their commitment in shaping the water committee 

  • Residents of Arri do their best to take care of the water infrastructure.



  • Community independence and ownership of the water infrastructure

  • Longevity of clean water for the community 



  • Karimu cost: $1000

  • Community cost and/or contribution: All maintenance