World Water Day 2022: Groundwater – Making the invisible visible

“Water is a basic human need, required for drinking and to support sanitation and hygiene, sustaining life and health. Access to both water and sanitation are human rights. A direct extension of access to WASH services not only improves educational opportunities and workforce productivity, but also contributes to a life of dignity and equality. WASH services also indirectly add value in the form of a healthier environment.” (source)

According to statistics gathered in 2017 by the United Nations, 2.25 billion people on our planet (29% of the population) lack access to safely managed drinking water and 4.15 billion people (55% of the total population) do not have access to safely managed sanitation. Lack of access to safe water and sanitation significantly impacts human health and wellbeing and drastically limits future potential.

Pure Water for the World is committed to addressing this global crisis by working with underserved communities in Haiti and Honduras to establish comprehensive and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in homes, schools, health clinics, and the greater communities. PWW also provides WASH training and consulting services across Central America, helping organizations, businesses, governmental entities and other groups to establish robust WASH programs and practices in their respective communities.

To help raise awareness and provide education about the global water crisis, PWW hosts annual events in Haiti, Honduras and the United States in celebration of World Water Day, March 22nd. Started in 1993, this internationally recognized day is focused on increasing awareness about the 2+ billion people currently living without access to our most basic human necessity.

World Water Day 2022’s theme is Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible.

Many of the communities where PWW works in Haiti and Honduras rely upon groundwater as a primary water source. Once harvested, these water sources often become contaminated with e-coli and other harmful pathogens. While the biosand filters and community water filters remove these contaminants, making water safe for consumption and usage, PWW also integrates important hygiene training programs into community WASH solutions to directly address critical practices needed to protect water sources and reduce levels of contamination.

World Water Day: Haiti

In the Limonade commune of northern Haiti, where PWW recently relocated, the team is currently working with 500 families and local schools to establish transformational WASH programs. Water quality tests indicate that 100% of the sources used for water collection by local families are contaminated with e-coli and other pathogens.

Junior Seraphin, PWW’s WASH Training Coordinator in Haiti, shares, “Groundwater is omnipresent in the subsoil but the majority of the population does not realize its importance. Frequently people express concern about the quality of water that is visible, including surface water, lakes, streams and rivers; groundwater, an invisible resource, is often overlooked and its value is not well understood or appreciated.”

This year, on World Water Day, the PWW team in Haiti will host a community event in Limonade to raise awareness about groundwater resources. Families will learn about groundwater contamination, how to use biosand filters to effectively water, and important practices necessary to reduce groundwater contamination.

During the World Water Day event, PWW’s Haiti team members will focus on the following key messages:

  • Groundwater is invisible, but its influence is visible everywhere.
  • Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure essential to life.
  • Almost all of the fresh water reserves on the planet are underground; they are used for the supply of drinking water, sanitation systems, agriculture, industry and ecosystems.
  • We often overuse and pollute groundwater and sometimes don’t know how much water lies beneath our feet.
  • Groundwater will play a key role in adapting to climate change. We must combine our efforts to sustainably manage this precious resource.
  • While hidden, groundwater should not be overlooked.

The team’s goal is to have event participants gain an ability to:

  • Explain the influence of groundwater in their community.
  • Discuss its availability, even in case of drought.
  • Discuss the different uses of groundwater: supply of drinking water, sanitation systems, agriculture, industry and ecosystems.
  • Explain how groundwater becomes contaminated and spreads contaminants.
  • Discuss the essential role of groundwater in adapting to climate change.

World Water Day: Honduras

In Honduras, every family in each community that works with PWW receives layers of WASH education as part of their community WASH program. Incorporated into these trainings are sessions focused on environmental protection, which includes water source protection. This is a critical component of the curriculum which serves to not only protect the local environment and improve the quality of the water sources, but, ultimately, to support the overall health and wellbeing of families and communities.

PWW also works with local teachers to build awareness about environmental protection and resiliency to climate change. This work includes emphasizing the importance of maintaining clean water sources, conserving the natural environment, and constructing latrines and sanitation facilities as part of a multi-barrier approach to preventing waterborne diseases. These practices directly impact the health of communities, including treasured water resources.

Maria Inestroza, Country Director for PWW Honduras, shares this sentiment, building climate resilience is not just about infrastructure and management practices. It’s about behavioral change and efficient use of our natural resources.” Groundwater is one of our most precious natural resources.

The PWW team in Honduras will be celebrating World Water Day this year in several communities. One celebration will take place at La Escuela de Las Delicias, with 54 students, two teachers, and seven PWW team members hosting educational activities that emphasize the importance of protecting water resources. Another educational event will take place in Maraita, teaching local water boards about the importance of properly handling chlorine to protect themselves, their community water systems, and their natural resources.

World Water Day: United States & Beyond…
Health, Hope & Opportunity Virtual Auction

The PWW team in the US will be celebrating World Water Day with our second annual Health, Hope & Opportunity virtual auction. The auction will go live on Thursday, March 17th at 12noon EST and run through Tuesday, March 22nd, World Water Day, at 3:22pm EST.

This year, all funds raised during the auction will go toward safe water projects in northern Haiti. AND, all funds raised will be matched 100% by a group of long-time PWW supporters. This means your auction participation will create 2x the impact for families in Haiti!

We hope you’ll join in on this fabulous opportunity to bid, shop, and share the life-changing and very precious gift of safe water with children and families in Haiti.