Around the world, a child dies every 21 second from a water related disease. To put that into perspective, that is 20 jumbo jets crashing every day. Cholera is one of the deadliest water related diseases and has been rampant within Haiti. But, through the leadership of Haiti Outreach, and with support from Many Hands for Haiti, the town of Pignon hopes to be above those statistics. A major community development project is underway in the city that will provide clean water throughout the city.

Digging trenches for water pipes is underway in Pignon

The overall scope of the project will include 44,000 feet of PVC pipe in the ground, a 24 hour solar pumping system, roughly 500 house connections, and 17 kiosks for purchasing clean water. The water system will tap into a government well that was dug in the 1980s, but never hooked up for various reasons. Preliminary analysis suggests an existing well can sustainably produce 26,000 gallons per day. Additional wells and hydro geologic studies are needed to increase the supply for the current population and as the need increases. Haiti Outreach is guiding the Pignon community in developing the knowledge and capability required to manage the water system according to the guidelines of DINEPA, the Haitian Government department responsible for potable water and sanitation.

Tim Brand and Sherry Van Antwerp of Many Hands for Haiti recently visited with Sarah Ocwieja, Haiti Outreach engineer, and saw first-hand the progress being made on the project. Currently, 26,000 feet of PVC is laid in the ground. All trenches are hand dug to three feet deep and 18 inches wide.  Haiti Outreach employs locals who want to dig trenches and lay the pipe when work is present. Since they work in conjunction with the pavers building local roads, many times the laying of the water pipe is delayed because they are dependent upon the road pavers to do their work first. But, they are making progress and expect the pipe to be completely laid and distributions to start within the next six months.

Many Hands for Haiti purchased 32 solar panels and the pumping system for the 24-hour solar pumping house. These were onsite and ready for installation when the project moves to that stage of the project. Current funding provides for the construction of the distribution grid and the 24-hour solar pumping system, but additional funding is needed to provide water access points (kiosks and household connections) and the construction of a well field.