In a country where millions of people still walk hours to gather water, it’s a major improvement to have it within 500 meters (10 minutes) of their homes! However, if that water is not potable, all of those efforts would be rendered useless. Either the people won’t drink it because they don’t like the taste, or worse if it’s contaminated, it can cause serious or even fatal diseases.
For that reason, our team at Haiti Outreach is committed testing the water quality in each of the wells we drill. Field Supervisor Accilien Kirrinus shared with a wide grin, “We cannot talk about development without talking about health, and at Haiti Outreach we are very proud of the health of our beneficiaries. That’s why we inspect the wells every month to ensure that the water is safe for consumption and tastes good too.”
Testing the water quality is not a simple or cheap process. To get the most accurate results, our inspectors use digital photometers. These devices are more reliable but are also more expensive and more difficult to use than other methods. They work with batteries and must be calibrated. They are useful for technicians conducting field measurements, and they play a vital role in a continuous or remote monitoring network.
Field Supervisor Mr. Kirinus examines the results of each inspection to ensure that they are where they need to be. However, when the water quality is poor, our team elicits DINEPA* to intervene. If bacteria or other pathogens are found in the water, our team can use chlorine tablets to disinfect it. A small amount of chlorine remains in the produced water to prevent further bacterial growth downstream, in wells or in water systems.
Having clean water from the well is vital, but it’s not the only requirement to ensure the water is safe for consumption. “Disinfection is a very important step but the most important thing is to make sure that the containers used to bring water to the house are very clean and contain a cover to prevent bacteria from getting into it” shares Mr. Kirinus.
For this reason, at the end of each inspection, he takes care to remind the well management committee and the community members of the importance of cleaning and covering their water buckets.
*DINEPA = the local government water agency