the kabul water project

(registered Bermuda charity, no. 869)


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3.5 minute video (click here)



Kabul, Afghanistan is a city of large, steep hills.

During thirty years of war, thousands of refugees have made these hills their home.

Unfortunately for the refugees, Kabul’s hills have no municipal services, like water and electricity.

This means water must be carried uphill by hand. Since parents work every day, this backbreaking labour falls to their children.

In many places children are killed as they carry water across busy highways. Many of the children carry water instead of going to school.

But there is a very simple solution. If water tanks are placed on the tops of the hills and water is pumped up to them, then the refugee’s houses can be supplied by pipe systems running downhill from the tanks.

Sustainable Energy Services Afghanistan (SESA) says that they can build such water systems easily using solar power to pump the water up to the tanks.


SESA 4.5 min. Afghan video (click here)

Solar pumps are the best choice because diesel pumps require fuel;
fuel which refugees cannot afford to buy. Solar energy makes the water systems environmentally and, perhaps more importantly, financially sustainable.

SESA is currently engaged in an unrelated project using solar power to access clean ground water in Kabul. So most of the needed building supplies for the Kabul Water Project are ready to hand in Kabul. Construction for The Kabul Water Project can begin very quickly. All that is needed is capital.

The Kabul Water Project is not a new idea. The Soviets built water tanks and pipe systems on several of Kabul’s hills during the 1980’s.

The tanks and pipes are still there and in good condition.

So on many of Kabul’s hills, pumps and repair work may be all that is needed to get the water flowing.


This is a pilot project. After it is complete it will be used to create a documentary to raise money for more water systems and serve as an educational tool. No financing from The Kabul Water Project will be used to create the documentary. But all donors will be prominently credited in the documentary and any other promotional material of The Kabul Water Project.


Since it is highly unusual for a place as small as Bermuda to take on this kind of project, the hope is to attract attention from the international media. I have twenty years of professional experience in global television including ten years at CNN where I won several awards. There is a reasonable chance that my contacts will be interested in running the story. Donors will be prominently credited in the documentary and all promotional material.



One of the core principles of SESA’s approach to development is that projects must be financially sustainable, on a permanent basis.

SESA works with local communities to form management committees that charge user fees and independently maintain their own energy and water infrastructure.

This means The Kabul Water Project’s water systems should continue working indefinitely without additional financial support.


Our intention is to hire SESA to do a pilot project with one of two objectives.

First to find a suitable Russian water tank system and get it running again using a solar water pump. According to SESA this should be cheaper and faster than installing a new system.

Second, if the Russian water tanks and pipe systems are no longer serviceable, then SESA will be contracted to build a brand new water tank system on one of Kabul’s hills.

Robert Zuill will work alongside SESA to monitor progress and assist in making decisions. He will shoot a documentary as work goes on. The documentary will be used to raise more money for additional water systems.


The immediate beneficiaries will be the Afghan children who will no longer have to carry water.

Bermuda will also benefit as the project should attract media attention and enhance Bermuda’s international image. In addition, the documentary will be shown in Bermuda’s schools and will demonstrate to young Bermudians how fortunate we are to live in Bermuda. Furthermore, it will show young Bermudians that, with a little creative thinking, we have the ability to use some of our good fortune to make significant differences in the lives of the World’s poor.

To this end, young Bermudians will be given the opportunity to learn, hands on, how to construct a solar pumping system and be involved in the fund raising process. They can also participate in a Kabul Water Project blog that will track construction progress, with pictures and text, and provide responses to questions and comments.

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