Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, Drinking water, Energy, environnement, Gestion, Management, Réservoirs, Services de l’eau, Solar, Water Supply Service, Water supply systems
Picture caption: Inhabitants of Mbuji Mayi drawing drinking water from a standpipe supplied by one of the two hybrid water networks within the framework of this project (photo credit: Enabel).
Converting fossil-fuel-powered generators to solar hybrid power systems: a high-potential market for the hydraulics sector in Africa
VERGNET HYDRO will convert to hybrid power two drinking water networks in Mbuji-Mayi city (Kasai-Oriental Province, DRC) by coupling the current Diesel generators to solar power plants to bring a continuous supply of water to more than 80,000 people. “Converting fossil-fuel-powered generators to solar hybrid power systems is without any doubt a high-potential market for the hydraulics sector in Africa. It is important that we start demonstrating the expertise VERGNET HYDRO has in this field now,” said Romain Dubreuil, Area Sales Manager for VERGNET HYDRO, enthusiastically. The hybrid systems are scheduled to be commissioned in December 2020.
The electricity network in Mbuji-Mayi is defective, inadequate and undeveloped in peri-urban areas. Consequently, drinking water networks are powered by Diesel generators. In this isolated province, however, fuel is expensive. This has a significant impact on the price of the water sold at water distribution points, which are in fact little used because they are financially beyond the reach of many local people. To provide wider access to drinking water, the Belgian development agency Enabel, financed by the Kingdom of Belgium, has opted to put in place a technology that is less damaging to the environment and offers lower, more controllable running costs: solar PV farms. “This pilot project is part of Enabel’s PROGEAU programme in DRC and is set to be rolled out to nine other drinking water networks in Mbuji-Mayi, to serve 350,000 people, and four networks in Maniema Province, to serve 100,000 people,” explained Fabian PROD’HOMME, the programme’s coordinator at Enabel.
Direct solar solutions without batteries
Under the project, direct solar solutions without batteries will be used to power the two water networks. To ensure continuity of supply 365 days per year, Diesel generators will take over from the solar generators where necessary, on very cloudy days and overnight. VERGNET HYDRO’s role in the project is to supply and install two solar farms, all the equipment required to connect the solar generators to the pumps, float valve systems for the tanks and pressure switch automatic regulation systems for the pumps. “The solar farms should produce at least 160m3 and 130m3 of water per day, with peak power of 37kWp and 32kWp,” explained Roman SNRECH from VERGNET HYDRO, who is in charge of the operational side of the project.
Training the network operators is another important aspect of the project. Indeed, it is essential to ensure that the network operators grouped together within the ASUREPs (drinking water network users’ associations) rapidly become self-sufficient in day-to-day management and equipment maintenance. “We will run four sessions with the technicians from each network and the inter-network technicians. We will equip them with tool kits (multimeters, assembly/disassembly tools, solarmeters, etc.) and provide a maintenance support service during the first few months,” said Roman SNRECH.
Drinking water, hand and foot pumps, hydro pump, Mali, Pompes à motricité humaine, Solar, Water supply systems
Mali: VERGNET HYDRO provides equipment to supply drinking water to more than 30,000 people in the Koulikoro and Sikasso regions
Picture caption: Manual pump and standpipe installed by the joint venture composed of VERGNET HYDRO and SEEBA for a drinking water supply contract awarded by UNICEF in the Region of Gao in Mali, in June 2019.
The company was selected thanks to the durability and quality of its products, and its after-sales service
VERGNET HYDRO has recently dispatched 17 manual pumps, 19 electrical pumping systems and storage and distribution equipment to its partner SEEBA SARL (Bamako, Mali) for a project that will supply drinking water to more than 30,000 people in the Koulikoro and Sikasso regions. “The quality and durability of VERGNET HYDRO’s products, together with the after-sales service the company offers, are definitely the deciding factors for a contract like this one,” said SEEBA’s Manager Modibo TAMBOURA.
SEEBA, a Malian SME, is delighted to have been awarded a contract by UNICEF to drill 19 new boreholes (16 to be equipped with manual pumps and three to be equipped with basic water supply systems), to convert 16 existing manual pumps into basic water supply systems, and to renovate one manual pump. These sites will supply drinking water to people in 29 rural communities, including 40 schools. All the sites will be up and running by July 2020.
VERGNET HYDRO and its partners bring each other business
“We have a contract with SEEBA under which they distribute our manual pumps and spare parts in Mali, and they frequently carry out the civil engineering for our rural hydraulics projects in the country too. Here, SEEBA is using VERGNET HYDRO equipment for a project that it is running itself. VERGNET HYDRO and its partners bring each other business. That is what makes our network so powerful”, insisted VERGNET HYDRO’s Area Sales Manager Najib BENAZOUZ.
Côte d’Ivoire: 17 drinking water supply systems to provide nearly 50,000 rural people with drinking water
Picture caption: Ivorian woman drawing water from a standpipe supplied by a drinking water supply systems set up by VERGNET HYDRO, in association with the SME MTK SERVICES, as part of the HYDRAULIC AND SANITATION PROGRAMME FOR THE MILLENNIUM (PHAM) in 2017.
VERGNET HYDRO is developing its construction work expertise
Côte d’Ivoire’s National Board for Drinking Water (ONEP) has awarded a contract for the construction of 17 drinking water supply systems to a joint venture of two SMEs: ABEDA (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) which will lead the project and VERGNET HYDRO. The contract will supply drinking water to nearly 50,000 rural people in the north of Côte d’Ivoire. “VERGNET HYDRO’s role in this is not limited to the design, supply and installation of the systems. Through our subsidiary SAHER (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire), we will also carry out a part of the construction work. We intend to develop this expertise for future projects,” says Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director of VERGNET HYDRO.
The contract is for the construction of 12 electrical drinking water supply systems and five hybrid systems, either solar/electric or solar/thermal, in the Tchologo, Poro, Bagoué, Kabadougou and Folon regions. “The five solar farms will generate power of between 4 and 7 kWp, with Total Dynamic Heads of between 60 and 110 m,” explains Joël MENAGER, Bids and Projects Officer for VERGNET HYDRO.
A budget of 2.8 billion CFA francs (4.3 million euros)
“We expect all supply systems to be operational by December 2020, as stipulated in the specifications we were given,” adds Baptiste GADENNE, Area Sales Manager at VERGNET HYDRO. Co-financed by Côte d’Ivoire’s Hydraulics Ministry, the Islamic Development Bank and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (through its BID-UEMOA programme), the project is expected to cost 2.8 billion CFA francs (4.3 million euros).
Burkina Faso: SAGEMCOM ENERGY & TELECOM relies on VERGNET BURKINA to supply 120,000 villagers with electricity
5 photovoltaic sites, 1,820 solar modules and a power of 587.5 kWp
“120,000 inhabitants of the Nord and Centre-Nord regions of Burkina Faso will be supplied with continuous electricity from the beginning of November by the 5 new solar photovoltaic power plants set up by the joint-venture associating the Burkinabe company VERGNET BURKINA (a subsidiary of VERGNET HYDRO) with the French firm SAGEMCOM ENERGY & TELECOM,” enthuses Jean-Christophe KI, Managing Director of VERGNET BURKINA. These installations are part of the major eco-electrification project for rural areas in the Nord and Centre-Nord regions, managed by the Burkinabe company Société d’Infrastructures collectives (SINCO) and co-financed by the European Union, the National Office for Water and Sanitation (ONEA), the Electrification Development Fund (FDE), the Société Nationale d’Electricité du Burkina (SONABEL), Solidarité Internationale pour le Développement et l’Investissement (SIDI) and SINCO.
The 1,820 solar modules of these 5 photovoltaic sites, located in the villages of Talisma, Saye, Ridimbo and Minima (Northern region) and Noaka (Central-Northern region), generate a power of 587.5 kWp (117.5 kWp on each site). SAGEMCOM ENERGY & TELECOM, lead partner in this project, provided all the equipment. “VERGNET BURKINA’s teams, composed of civil engineering technicians, electrotechnicians and experienced photovoltaic workers, were responsible for earthworks, civil engineering, building construction, solar field assembly and equipment installation.”
Authentic factors in the local economic development
The villagers benefit from this access to electricity via their SINCO subscriptions to the low-voltage grid. The 5 sites are connected to the grid of SONABEL, into which they inject their surplus electricity. “These facilities are authentic factors in the local economic development. Of course, they provide extra comfort for the home. But they also guarantee a continuous source of energy for local mills, mechanical welding workshops, ice production, etc.”
Solar-powered pumping in geologically and geographically challenging sites
Picture caption: Rural people drawing water from a standpipe, lately installed by ECM as part of the BORNEFONDEN project in the Région des Plateaux, similar to those which are going to be installed in the context of the current project (photo credit: ECM).
The Togolese Ministry for Water, Rural Equipment and Village Water Systems announced that it has awarded a solar-powered water supply and installation contract to the joint-venture composed of the companies VERGNET HYDRO and ECM (Lomé, Togo), aiming at providing more than 2,000 rural people from the Région des Savanes (Northern Togo) with drinking water. “The geological and geographical features of these 5 sites are challenging. Bringing drinking water to these populations, relying on solar energy, is the opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of the technical know-how of our two companies“, says Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director for VERGNET HYDRO.
The project consists of installing solar-powered drinking water supply systems in the villages of Nadiégou, Polougou (Tône Prefecture), Kankangbane (2 sites, including one school) and Djalière (Tandjoaré Prefecture), on particularly steep areas. “The boreholes are very deep. The pumps will be installed at the depth of between 165 and 220 meters…“, specifies Joël MENAGER, Bids and Projects Officer for VERGNET HYDRO.
To reduce the geographical marginalization in these villages
This project also has an important social dimension. Future users of these facilities today have limited access to the hydraulic equipment of their own villages, due to their geographical isolation. “The introduction of the new equipment significantly reduces the geographical marginalization in these villages while relieving the many challenges they are facing,” states Dominique GUNN, Sales Manager for ECM.
With a budget of 194 million CFA francs (€295,600), this contract falls within the framework of the PROJECT TO IMPROVE HEALTH CONDITIONS IN SCHOOL AND RURAL ENVIRONMENTS IN THE SAVANES REGION (PASSCO) led and funded by the FRENCH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (AFD). “All the equipment will be installed and functional in September 2019”, concludes Gwenolé LE LAGADEC, Business Manager for VERGNET HYDRO.
Drinking water, hand and foot pumps, hydro pump, Mali, Pompes à motricité humaine, Réservoirs, Solar, Water supply systems, Water tank line
20 schools from the Region of Gao to be equipped
Picture caption: Pupils drawing water from a HYDRO INDIA 60 manual pump in the ALZANABANDIA ZABA school in Gao (photo credit: UNICEF MALI/2019/DIARRA).
The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF announced that it has awarded a supply and installation contract to the joint-venture composed of the companies VERGNET HYDRO and SEEBA (Bamako, Mali) for the construction of drinking water supply systems for more than 12,000 rural people in the Region of Gao in Mali. “We are proud to provide these people in the centre of armed conflicts, including pupils from 20 schools, with safe water”, confides Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director for VERGNET HYDRO. All infrastructure will be installed and fully operational by June 2019.
With a budget of 385 million CFA francs (580,000 euros), the project comprises the drilling of 22 boreholes, the rehabilitation of 5 boreholes, the setup of 3 solar-powered piped water supply systems, the construction of 17 standpipes and the installation of 24 manual pumps (HYDRO INDIA 60 and HPV100). “The company SEEBA is in charge of the civil engineering and VERGNET HYDRO provides all equipment”, specifies Najib BENAZOUZ, Area Sales Manager for VERGNET HYDRO.
A contribution to the local economy
“Of course, managing this kind of operations in these areas requires local staff. This contribution to the local economy is a major dimension of this project”, concludes Modibo TAMBOURA, Managing Director for SEEBA.
269 water points fed by solar-powered pumps
Picture caption: Photographs of a solar field, a water tower and a pump manifold constructed by VERGNET HYDRO, MTCS and ATC MALI in Mali in 2011 for a project of 11 hydraulic centers, similar to the 20 centers subject of this article.
« We have just received the 170 km of pipes that will enable us to provide 100,000 rural people with drinking water in the KOULIKORO Region (Mali) », states Thierry BARBOTTE, General Director for VERGNET HYDRO. Funded by the German bank KREDITANSTALT FÜR WIEDERAUFBAU (KfW) and led by the Malian NATIONAL AGENCY FOR HYDRAULICS (DIRECTION NATIONALE DE L’HYDRAULIQUE) and the German company GAUFF CONSULTANTS (the technical coordinator), this project is carried out by a joint-venture gathering VERGNET HYDRO and the Malian companies MTCS and ATC MALI. They are committed to installing 269 water points in 20 localities, fed by solar-powered pumps.
« VERGNET HYDRO wrote the initial technical studies and has provided the equipment (pipes, pumping systems, taps and chlorination system), ATC MALI is providing the 20 water towers and MTCS handles all the construction works », specifies Najib BENAZOUZ, Business Manager for VERGNET HYDRO. The project budget, divided over 2 lots of 10 localities each, amounts to 5.5 million euros (3.6 billion CFA francs).
First inaugurations planned for the end of 2018
« This is a 100%-solar project. But, this is also a 100%-treatment project. All pumped water is treated by chlorination before being stored in the water towers and drawn by the villagers », adds Thomas CANDELORO, Projects Manager for VERGNET HYDRO. Indeed, a crucial part of the project consists of constructing buildings next to the water towers which will house the chlorine production (electrolysis process) and injection processes. Furthermore, 5 of the localities will be equipped with power generators.
This 12-month long project started in February 2018. The first inaugurations are planned for the end of 2018. « We have a lot on our plate but we are going to respect the deadlines, because our joint-venture is well organised. Actually, we had already constructed 11 equivalent hydraulic centers in Mali together with MTCS and ATC MALI, back in 2011 », concludes Thierry BARBOTTE.