Updated: Jul 5
Q: Why don't you just dig wells? Wouldn't that be cheaper than your model?
A: Yes, it would be a lot cheaper! But cheap isn't our goal. We are striving for effective, long term solutions.
Effective: Every location is different. What's most effective in one place might not be adequate in another. For example, in places like Africa where water is scarce, drilling deep wells might be the best solution. Even still, well water is easily contaminated, difficult to store safely, and can still make people sick. In the Dominican Republic, water scarcity is less of a problem than water contamination.
Long Term: Unfortunately, there are countless wells that have fallen into disrepair across poor countries because well-meaning organizations did not plan for the long term. They, and their donors, want the image of water spewing out of the ground and villagers dancing around in jubilation. But what happens to that village a year later when the well or hand pump have broken and the nonprofit has moved on?
Our Model: Water at Work does drill wells when the available water source for the plant is insufficient (see the picture above of our well in Magante). Usually there is a community well system that provides untreated water on some schedule to local homes. We draw from and/or augment that water source by drilling another well. Together with local churches or ministries, we establish state-of-the-art water plant businesses that purify the contaminated water then bottle it for distribution. Importantly, each water plant is certified for operation by the Ministry of Public Health. Each business is staffed with local workers and monitored regularly. This way, we can guarantee that our water is 100% safe for everyone and will be available for years to come. Although it's more expensive to do it this way, it's a sustainable solution that leads to better health, new jobs, and true economic development.