Wilo runs water for a mountain village

The Moroccan colleagues of the Dortmund technology company Wilo in Imlil , who discovered for themselves the difficulties of accessing  clean drinking water.  Source: Wilo SE.
The Moroccan colleagues of the Dortmund technology company Wilo in Imlil , who discovered for themselves the difficulties of accessing clean drinking water. Source: Wilo SE.

Until recently, the residents of Imlil, a village in Morocco’s Atlas mountains, had to travel 2km to the nearest well for water. A chance stop in the village by employees of an international pump manufacturer finally gave residents the running water they needed.

German pump manufacturer, Wilo, integrates sustainability into all its products and solutions and it is an important part of its corporate strategy. The company understands the importance of seeing the bigger picture, which is often defined by the combination of individual factors and global developments.

Wilo then deals with the consequences and effects using sustainable solutions. The growing water shortage on our planet is an issue that is particularly important to Wilo’s employees all over the world.

Water shortages In 2010, the United Nations declared access to clean water a human right. ­Estimates indicate there are currently around 900 million people without access to clean drinking water.  

By 2040, it is expected that 33 countries across the globe will be affected by extreme water shortages. Morocco is one of the countries that has been battling with the effects of climate change for many years and experts believe that precipitation levels in the country will continue to decline whilst temperatures continue to rise. 

Morocco’s population has almost tripled from 12 to 34 million since the 1960s, with 61% of Moroccans living in cities and dependent on utilities. But with water is already in short supply in the country, the World Climate Council expects that many African countries could soon be over­exploiting this vital resource.

This over­exploitation of water reserves is threatening many regions and, according to a forecast by the World Resource Institute for the year 2040, Morocco, Algeria and Libya are among the countries most likely to need to consume far more water than will be available.

Water challenges Five employees of the Moroccan subsidiary of the Dortmund pump manufacturer, Wilo, discovered for themselves the difficulties of accessing clean drinking water when they decided to take on the challenge of climbing Mount Toubkal, which at 4167 m is the highest peak in the Atlas mountains. Imad Boulabat from Wilo Morocco, said that the team were looking for new challenges to take on together and to climb to the peak of the highest mountain in the region seemed like the perfect opportunity.  

After a few hours of climbing they decided to take a break in the village of Imlil and replenish their water supply. However, this proved to be more difficult than expected.  When they asked the inhabitants what the problem was, the  answer was simple − water was a rare commodity in the region.

Long trek Around 800 people live in the Berber village and 60% of them are women and children. In order to build up their water supply, villagers must travel 2km each way to the closest well and have to carry full water containers or large water bottles all the way back to their village. 

The villagers are careful with their collected water and only use it for drinking or a quick wash. When they need to do laundry, the residents of Imlil have to walk to the river and if they want a shower, they have to walk to the next bathhouse.

Water for Imlil When the Wilo employees realised the problems that villagers were facing, they knew they had to do something to ensure residents were able to access  running water. After discussion, they decided to donate a submersible motor pump. The Wilo-Actun FIRST SPU 4 was designed for applications with a  challenging installation environment. 

The floating impeller increases the tolerance to sand in the water, as the mobility of the impeller guarantees a higher ­permeability. The mechanical seal additionally protects the motor from external influences. With high motor efficiencies, the submersible motor pump ensures a high water yield with low energy consumption. 

The pump and motor were installed in co-operation with a local technician and the residents of Imlil are delighted. One of the women from the village explained that thanks to the help of Wilo, running water now comes directly into their homes and that is saving them time for more important things in their lives.

“Instead of having to walk every day to get water, we now have more time to generate an income. We have more time to weave the carpets that we then sell on to our neighbours and visitors to our village. But what’s even more important is the fact that our daughters now have enough time to attend school,” said the woman.