We are excited to share some extraordinary news with you! The town of Pignon, where Haiti Outreach is based, has a population of about 8,000 people and a town water system first built in 1985. However, it has never been properly managed to function for more than a short period of time. The system has always had unequal distribution and everyone pays a flat rate, regardless of use. It has never been available to all houses where everyone who wants it can have access and where it is managed to be clean and functioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – until now! Today we celebrate this new era of progress!
This has occurred thanks to the relentless determination of Haiti Outreach Country Director Neil Van Dine, along with many partners who have provided financial support and assistance. These have included not only Haiti Outreach, thanks to our generous donors, but more recently, HANWASH – Haiti National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Initiative, the Rotary inspired non-profit organization.
HANWASH obtained a Rotary Global Grant between the Pignon Rotary Club and Rotary District #6940 of northwest Florida to fund improvements to the system. Those improvements included dividing the system up into districts, a method to help determine where there are substantial leaks that need repair, and to pay for expert engineering from NorthWater International. Other contributors include Water Missions, which has provided solar power so the fuel costs are kept to a minimum to operate the pumps and USAID which paid for the district valves, along with the support of local governmental authorities and civil society. We are very grateful for all of the individuals and groups that have made this project possible.
The result: as far as we know, this is the only town water system in Haiti with all of those qualities of being functioning and managed 24/7 with metered service which we take so much for granted here in the U.S.
Two-thirds of the town is covered with the underground pipe grid, and 276 households and businesses now have clean, potable water piped right to their buildings. While so many people in the town have been skeptical that this can actually happen, now that they will see it is possible, we hope they will also sign up, making the system more and more revenue positive and self-sustaining. Together we are proving that dreams can become a reality!
Our vision extends beyond Pignon. This project serves as a pilot, demonstrating how other town water systems throughout Haiti can be revolutionized to operate cleanly, fairly, efficiently, and sustainably 24/7. We firmly believe that by working one step at a time with collaborating partners, together we can bring about lasting change and a developed Haiti for all!