A survey of community needs completed in early 2012 identified clean water as a desperate need for many families and individuals in Haiti. Of the 250+ houses surveyed, two thirds drank water from surface sources (rivers or canals), and the majority of others used water from private taps. Only about 70% of these households treated their water to remove harmful pathogens. One in 5 had endured bouts serious diarrhea in the weeks leading up to the survey, and 35% of houses reported losing a young child in recent years—usually due to fever and diarrhea.
Further survey work revealed all of the surface water and almost all tap water was contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria—the stuff that lives in your colon. After spending time in the community, we realized that even when people filled their buckets with clean water, they first rinsed the buckets with contaminated river water. We knew something had to be done so Community Water Project was implemented.