Clean Water for Corail Lamothe

Engineers Without Borders project improves water supply and sanitation in Haiti
Jun 24, 2013 9:00 AM ET

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to potable water. Through Engineers Without Borders USA, Tetra Tech is helping provide clean water to one community in Haiti by improving its rainwater capture system.

Haiti’s water infrastructure quite similar to an impoverished African province. About one out of every six children dies of a waterborne illness prior to their fifth birthday, and only 25 percent of rural households have access to improved water and sanitation.

Residents of the rural farming community of Corail Lamothe have no reliable source of potable water. Rain catchment is the primary water source. During the dry season, residents must walk for up to five hours to get water. The closest spring is about the size of a kitchen sink and serves more than 5,000 people. The spring water has tested positive for Escherichia coli.

At Tetra Tech’s 2011 Annual Meeting, employees from around the world raised more than $17,000 for water supply improvements in Corail Lamothe. Tetra Tech previously supported the rainwater harvesting project through a grant to the EWB-USA South Central Florida Professionals (EWB-SCFL) chapter, which is currently working with Corail Lamothe’s Water Committee to construct a new cistern and improve an existing rainfall capture and conveyance system. Very little rainfall data is available for Haiti’s Southeast Department where Corail Lamothe is located, so EWB-SCFL worked with community members to track rainfall to improve water supply measures.

Efficient capture and storage of water during Haiti’s rainy season will reduce Corail Lamothe’s dependence on the old spring. The team plans to construct a new 33,000-gallon, centrally located cistern at the community church and to renovate the existing water storage and supply system. Approximately 66,000 gallons of existing cistern storage are available for potential renovation. A local contractor will be employed to oversee construction, and adequately trained community members will form the labor force.

EWB-SCFL recently implemented pilot study improvements in the community, which consisted of completely renovating an existing 15,000-gallon cistern and associated water collection and conveyance system and installing four slow sand filters. The team also provided maintenance training and hygiene education training courses as part of the pilot study.

When the project is fully implemented, the Water Committee intends to install about 60 slow sand filters located throughout the village. The filters are low maintenance and relatively easy to install and maintain given the proper training. Recipients of the filters will be advised to attend the appropriate training sessions.

Tetra Tech’s contributions will help to implement the new cistern and associated water capture and conveyance system and slow sand filters. Contributions will also help to provide essential training and education to the community.

Tetra Tech is proud to support EWB-SCFL and the people of Corail Lamothe as they implement a sustainable water supply system.