Providing affordable access to safe drinking water in rural Honduras
El Naranjo, Honduras
Fewer than one-third of rural communities in Honduras have access to safe drinking water, contributing to high rates of gastrointestinal disease and significant expense (up to 10 percent of household incomes) in purchasing bottled water. The village of El Naranjo consists of 200 families whose local water supply is contaminated with bacteria and pesticides. Approximately 25 percent of the community misses school or work regularly due to stomach ailments associated with the contaminated water supply. An ERM team provided technical assistance for the installation of a new water purification and distribution system.
Through the ERM Foundation, an ERM employee from the United States, Mary Hess, spent a week with this community, working with the NGO Living Waters for the World to troubleshoot the installation. During this week, 25 community educators were trained on health and hygiene issues, including how to minimize the spread of germs, water conservation, and safety issues associated with the operation of the water filtration system. In addition, 50 local school children were educated on health and hygiene.
The new system currently is producing 9,000 liters of safe drinking water per week. The cost of water from the system is 50 percent less than the standard market price, and the local elementary school receives clean water free of charge. The community is using the cost savings to maintain the system and to set up a fund for local children to attend secondary school.