The objective of the Clean Water Foundation is to improve access to drinking water for people around the world. Taking into account different needs, difficult conditions, and the variety of possible measures, GF concentrates its efforts on five focus areas: extracting water, transporting water, storing water, distributing water, and aiding reconstruction.
Project Focus Areas
Building wells is a critical focus area among the activities funded by the Clean Water Foundation. Various technologies and construction methods are used depending on the location and sub-surfaces.
Clean Water in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, and specifically in the region surrounding the village of Paturia, one must usually go down to a depth of 100 meters to obtain clean drinking water. This is the main reason why the Adivasi, the original inhabitants of Bangladesh, live here in great poverty. With the support of the Shanti-Schweiz aid organization, as well as the Bengali aid organization Dipshikha, the Clean Water Foundation made it possible to build solar operated pump stations to extract drinking water. So that the equipment is easy to maintain, planners kept the technology simple, omitted the use of batteries, and purchased solar panels, transformers, and pumps in Bangladesh. The Clean Water project was thus able to install a drinking water system in the village schools in Paturia, Rudraput, and Shapahar. Local tradesmen and workers completed all tasks in a short time, which ultimately gave 1'200 people, primarily students and teachers, access to clean drinking water and better hygiene conditions.
For various reasons, people settle in places where their annual requirements for drinking water are not necessarily assured. Poverty is generally one of the main reasons why this happens. The construction of water lines and canals is both an opportunity and a prerequisite to have a better quality of life over the long term.
Clean Water in Afghanistan
Due to the extreme topography and the mostly dry climate, surface water hardly exists in Afghanistan. People often have to go very far to obtain clean drinking water. Particularly affected by the aridity are the individuals living in the Hazarajat region, located west of Kabul, the capital city.
In close cooperation with the Afghanistanhilfe Schaffhausen aid organization, 50 hand-operated deep wells, some going down 40 meters, were built as part of the Clean Water project. In a fivemonth-long construction period, the undertaking created 100 jobs for skilled workers and unschooled locals. This Clean Water project supplied 40'000 people in the region with clean, always available drinking water. By placing many of the wells near schools and clinics, the usually long journey to fetch water has become a thing of the past. The presence of the wells has improved local hygiene conditions tremendously, which in turn has also significantly increased life expectancy in this region.
In many regions of the world, there are distinct dry and rainy seasons. For that reason, clean, fresh drinking water in sufficient quantities is only available in certain times of the year. The construction of rain water storage systems and water tanks makes this precious liquid available when times are dry.
Clean Water in Mozambique
For about 70 percent of the people living in Mozambique, obtaining drinking water is a daily battle. In the Province of Cabo Delgado, women, who are traditionally responsible for getting water, must often plan on walking for hours in dangerous conditions to bring back just a few liters of water. Partnering with the Helvetas aid organization, the Clean Water Foundation has completed several water projects in Mozambique.
Clean Water in Ntamba
With the objective of improving hygiene conditions and ultimately raising the life expectancy (currently 36 years on average), the Clean Water Foundation participated in building a new water supply system and servicing the time-worn one in Ntamba. The active involvement of local communities and workers made it possible, among other things, to repair diesel engines, replace water mains to the pump stations, and clean up reservoirs and tapping points. The project’s positive outcome now benefits about 38'000 people in 12 villages. Helvetas receives the Energy Globe Award 2007 for drinking water projects in Cabo Delgado
The construction of wells and water distribution in all variations are key areas of the activities financed by Clean Water Foundation. They are an opportunity and basic requirement for a sustainably improved quality of life. With the establishment of a water cooperative it is ensured that the village community can use the new water distribution system for a long time.
Clean Water in Nicaragua
San Pedro Nuevo is a small community situated in a geothermal active area close to the Maribios volcanic range in Nicaragua. The geothermal field naturally produces saline fluids that contain a very high concentration of arsenic. These fluids mix with the ground water and affect the drinking water of the community in this area. Arsenic is an important drinking-water contaminant: Drinking water rich in arsenic over a long period leads to arsenic poisoning. This results in severe illnesses such as skin cancer, cancers of the bladder, kidney and lung or diseases of the blood vessels of legs and feet.
The arsenic concentration in San Pedro Nuevo exceeded the limit set out by the World Health Organization (10 µg/l) up to twice. However, there was another challenge: The only access to drinking water in the community was by open, unprotected hand-dug wells, which meant a significant risk of water-borne disease. Also, these wells were very deep and required a big effort to lift water.
In collaboration with Nuevas Esperanzas the Clean Water foundation of GF enabled the development of a local clean water source for the community of San Pedro Nuevo as well as a pump house and a header tank. This means a real improvement in quality of life for the 123 people living in San Pedro Nuevo. Furthermore, for the sustainable and long-term maintenance of the water system, a water committee has been established in the community. In March 2017, after three months of drilling, the new well was successfully completed with a total depth of 130m and a water column of 25m.The testing of water quality showed that the water was completely arsenic free.
Nuevas Esperanzas will continue to manage the technical side of the project until the system is fully operational as well as providing training to the water committee.
The Clean Water Foundation does not provide emergency assistance, but it is involved in phase two of post-disaster operations. At this time, the focus is on rebuilding infrastructures – at least to the point that affected individuals can get by during a transition period lasting a few months to several years.
Clean Water in Haiti
Haiti’s tragic toll after the earthquake of January 12, 2010 was more than 300'000 dead, one million homeless, fear, hunger, and thirst. In that kind of a situation, the availability of clean drinking water is a must for survivors and a sign of hope. Right after news of the disaster broke, the Clean Water Foundation donated USD 50'000 in emergency aid funds. Then, employees at GF Piping Systems in Tustin, California stepped in with their expertise. Within a few days, technicians and engineers had built a water line system, which anyone could install, made of plastic and with six tapping points each. The systems were connected to the water treatment facilities belonging to the Water Missions International organization, thereby providing clean drinking water for the stricken population. What was created in response to an emergency went on to stay in place because the distribution system was ideally suited for long-term development aid due to its lightweight construction and sturdiness.