Sam Zietlow (front) with Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca, a council bureaucrat who will travel to Kenya to set up a clean water filter system in a small village.
Sam Zietlow (front) with Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca, a council bureaucrat who will travel to Kenya to set up a clean water filter system in a small village. Blainey Woodham

Tweed to clean Kenyan water

A TWEED Shire Council employee has volunteered to travel to Africa early next year to install water purification equipment in a remote Kenyan village, sharing the level of technology that has recently protected Tweed residents from toxic blue-green algae.

Council bureaucrat Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca will head to Kenya as part of an ongoing help program for the impoverished east African nation, which council staff initiated in 2006.

Announcing Mr Garcia-Cuenca’s volunteer effort yesterday, a council spokesperson said the continuing support for small rural villages in Kenya would reduce the incidence of deadly diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery and also lower the rate of infant mortality.

Mr Garcia-Cuenca, whose current role on the council is sustainable agriculture program leader, hopes to provide “an accessible and hygienic drinking water supply” for the poor rural community in western Kenya, which currently extracts untreated drinking water from a contaminated dam.

He plans to introduce hi-tech water treatment that uses microfiltration to purify dam water without the need for chemicals or power in an area of Kenya known as Yawo Ochilo.

“I know it will be a major challenge but there are also major rewards in knowing the Tweed Kenya mentoring program will be making a real difference to people’s lives,” Mr Garcia-Cuenco said.

Programme chairman Tom Alletson, who has previously been to Kenya to kick of the help program, said sponsors included council staff who planned to raise $18,000 this financial year matched dollar-for-dollar by the council.

“Every dollar of donated money will have a direct benefit on the ground,” he said.

“This project will deliver a minimum daily capacity of 20,000 litres of clean, safe water for a project cost of under $40,000.”



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