Partnership brings clean water to communities in Haiti, Peru

Jan. 6, 2014 at 5:53 PM
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LIMA, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- An international partnership forged in the United States is bringing clean water to underprivileged communities in Haiti and Peru and further afield in Malawi, Africa.

Oregon solar manufacturer SolarWorld said it teamed up with Rotary International and Water Missions International non-profit organization to cater for clean water needs of thousands of inhabitants in impoverished Haiti and semi-isolated Amazonian communities in Peru. Similar amenities were made available in Malawi.

SolarWorld has headquarters in Freiberg, Germany, and runs Western Hemisphere operations from Hillsboro, Oregon.

By the end of 2013 the partnership had reached out to 35,000 people in Latin America, the Caribbean and the African nation.

The partnership's help to Haiti was especially timely because of the continuing effects of a major earthquake, numerous aftershocks and other natural disasters in the Caribbean state.

Haiti's water crisis was considered severe before a magnitude 7.0 earthquake Jan. 12, 2010, devastated the nation's limited water distribution system, contaminated wells and rendered many of other water resources unusable.

Water scarcity in Peru's indigenous communities was cited as one of the reasons for the spread of disease across the country's Amazonian region. The country has also been hit by water shortages created by long dry spells and concerns over Peru's depleting water resources as its tropical glaciers melt in response to climate change.

The partnership teams installed solar panels, submersible water pumps from WMI partner Grundfos, and other devices for water treatment.

"These projects unite WMI, Rotary International, SolarWorld and Grundfos in leveraging their technological expertise to maximize the humanitarian impact of curbing the spread of disease and death from contaminated water supplies," said George Greene IV, president and chief operating officer of Water Missions International. "The result: clean, safe and sustainable water – a foundation for community health, education and economic vitality."

SolarWorld and WMI teamed pooled resources with local Rotary clubs in the United States, Peru, Haiti and Malawi to provide water treatment systems. In Peru, the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., led a fundraising effort that, in combination with a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, garnered more than $300,000 for water and sanitation projects in Peru.

The partnership has installed nine solar-powered water-treatment systems in Peru, many in remote communities in the Amazon River basin, and two systems in Bayonnais, Haiti.

Sixteen systems in rural Malawi came online about the same time.

Without such systems, these communities would continue to suffer high rates of water-borne disease and childhood mortality that attend parasite-bearing and otherwise contaminated water supplies, health officials involved with the project said.

SolarWorld U.S. President Mukesh Dulani said the partnership focused on sustainable technology to make safe drinking water available to wider numbers of people in impoverished, rural communities.

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