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Solar powered irrigation system enables families to make a living

News from Nicaragua | Friday, 7 July 2017 |

Putting solar panels in place above the well. Credit: John Perry

Putting solar panels in place above the well. Credit: John Perry

In the community of El Timal, Nicaragua, solar power is enabling off grid families to make a living.

El Timal is in the almost forgotten area between Nicaragua’s two large lakes, only about 20km from the international airport but with practically no transport links and no electricity supply.

After the US-backed contra war ended in 1990, families from northern Nicaragua were relocated here.  Some twenty families live on the site of an abandoned sugar mill where they try to eke out a living through farming.

The soil is very fertile but previously it could only be farmed in the rainy season – May to November - due to a lack of irrigation. There is a well that once served the sugar plantation but it is deep and has a narrow bore making it very difficult to draw water by hand.

A group of women from the community approached rural development association ADIC seeking support to set up a solar powered pump to enable them to irrigate their land from the well.

With funding from the British Embassy and Masaya’s twin town of Leicester the pump, powered by two solar panels, was installed inside the well.  The water feeds into a large header tank that  provides the community with a 24-hour water supply and an irrigation system for their crops.

The constant water supply helps the community produce more vegetables and fruit for their own consumption and to sell to augment their incomes.