Nicaragua is nestled between Honduras and Costa Rica, bordering the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Though it has abundant sources of fresh water, they are often difficult to access. According to WaterAid, an organization aimed at providing the world with safe drinking water, water quality in Nicaragua is poor and water is seldom considered safe to drink.

Of a population of nearly 6 million, about 800,000 Nicaraguans lack access to improved water sources. Furthermore, at least 100 children die annually from diseases such as diarrhea, which is largely caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. Much of Nicaragua’s water is unsafe due to contamination from chemicals used in mining and agriculture.

Organizations such as WaterAid have been diligently working to provide Nicaraguans with safe drinking water. One of their methods is teaching locals how to install rope pumps, which are a simplified version of a water pump. WaterAid also teaches locals how to install toilets and rainwater catchment systems and how to drill and properly clean out wells. Their efforts have provided more than 2,000 Nicaraguans with safe drinking water.

An ambitious project, Water for Waslala, seeks to end the water crisis in Waslala, a region in Nicaragua. The nonprofit strives to educate communities in Waslala on how to build their own water systems. The inclusion of Waslalans into the process, and not simply U.S. volunteers, ensures that the systems can remain effective in the long term.

Water for Waslala also teams up with Villanova University to hold semi-annual workshops in Waslala to inform the locals about water system creation. In 2015 and 2016 their efforts have contributed to three water systems being built in Waslala, serving about 819 Waslalans. On top of this, about 2,115 Waslalans were given household filters to ensure safe household drinking water.

Water for Waslala hopes to reach its goal of providing all Waslalans with access to safe drinking water by 2030. In 2016, Water for Waslala joined WaterAid and has since partnered with El Porvenir, a nonprofit organization focused on serving Nicaraguans, to create the Agua Para Waslala Program Alliance.

Tremendous strides have been made towards improving the water quality in Nicaragua. Community collaboration, smart engineering and thoughtful individuals have made it all possible.

Rebeca Ilisoi

Photo: Flickr