New Direction: Creating New, Long-term Sources of Water that Will Improve Health and Access to a Livable Income

February 19, 2016

With your support, we will be able to provide village after village in the Artibonite Region (central Haiti) -- of up to 10,000 people in each -- with the means to gain lifetime access to clean, safe water.

Rebecca will have clean water

Rebecca will have clean water

The 2010 cholera epidemic in Haiti began in the Artibonite Region (central Haiti), claiming the lives of over 8,000 people since 2010. Cholera spread from the Artibonite throughout Haiti because there is poor access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the region. It is an important region to the people of Haiti because of the river that flows through it and the fertile farmland that surrounds it.

While cholera is still a problem in Haiti, it is no longer the most common cause of waterborne sickness. Diseases caused by protozoa – micro-organisms – are now the biggest challenge in Haiti. In fact, recent studies in 2014 have found that 65% of waterborne caused sickness in Haiti is now from protozoan infections, mainly one called Cryptosporidium (commonly referred to as Crypto).

All of us at International Action want to do what we can to help protect people in Haiti from Crypto, while we continue our efforts to mitigate cholera. And we want to start with the Artibonite Region. To defend the people in the Artibonite Region against Crypto and cholera, we are focused on providing communities in this region with new, safe sources of water – because chlorine is not effective against Crypto.



To create new water sources we are going to partner with several different Haiti-based and international organizations. We will work together to survey each commune in the Artibonite Region of Haiti (central Haiti). The information will then be used to empower the people from each Artibonite commune to decide on, organize and install a water supply or treatment system. We plan to initially work in 20 communes in the Artibonite Region, providing clean, safe water for up to 10,000 people in each.  

Already, we have begun to create new, safe water sources for the people of the Artibonite Region. There are now new water sources in three separate Artibonite communities. Each are home to roughly 740 families. By the end of 2017, we plan to work with 20 more Artibonite communities, creating similar water supply and treatment projects.

These new projects will often entail drilling into a clean, safe underground water source. Then, we install a solar or electricity-run pump to bring the clean water to the surface. The water is then pumped into a large 2000-gallon water tank and treated by one of our chlorinators, to protect the water from possible recontamination. These underground water sources are clean because they are purified by natural processes – when water slowly moves through the ground all bacteria, protozoa and viruses are removed.  

These new water supply and treatment systems will become essential parts of each community they serve in many ways. The water systems will help improve the health of each family that uses it because they will have better quality water and plenty of it to use for drinking, bathing and hand-washing. Many communities will also use the new water supply to irrigate their fields for crops, improving their access to food and creating a source of income. The new water sources will save people time (mainly women and children) when collecting water because their water source will be much closer to the village center than before.

With your help, we can provide thousands of families in Haiti with permanent access to clean, safe water sources.

Thank you very much for your continued support.



Zach Brehmer

President, Board member

International Action