Project #8369

Ensure the sustainability of clean water in Haiti

by International Action
Happy People
Happy People

Through your charitable donations a new drill has been purchased with delivery scheduled for February that will allow the drilling of water wells in the 80% of the country that is inaccessible by road!  Local Haitians will be trained in the operation of the drill and in the management/maintenance of the new well sites.  We anticipate at least ten new well locations will be established and developed in 2017.  All made possible by the charity of our much-appreciated donors.

The eminent implementation of these wells will finally provide clean potable water to some of the most vulnerable and hardest hit populations on the Island.   

Leaving no stone unturned, International Action is pursuing the use of solar-powered submersible pumps to replace the above ground pumps that require generators to operate.  The current use of these generators results in constant repairs with hard to obtain parts and higher fuel consumption creating excessive operating costs.  The current system is economically unsustainable.

When the generator breaks down the pumps fail and the end result is no water.  Solar powered submersible pumps will pump water whenever the sun shines – and the sun shines a lot in Haiti!

In addition to potable water production, we are now involved in and are supporting water production for agricultural use. With access to reliable water sources, an increase of food production and a notable increase in the farmer’s annual income should be realized.

Over the next two years, we plan to work in two of the fifteen communes in the Artibonite Region, including Dessalines and Gonaives. These two communes are home to roughly 230,000 people. This project will provide Dessalines with the clean water they need for drinking and for agriculture. Our team will work with partners to first map where the water sources need to be and then create the wells and the water systems.

International Action has been working in Haiti, with water, since 2005, and in the Artibonite Region for four years. We know the area well and have recognized the importance of including many local and international partners, which is the best way to achieve success in Haiti.

Farmers and their families, ready to get to work
Farmers and their families, ready to get to work

We are happy to call you a friend and a partner, and are very thankful for your continued support. Working together, we have been able to help thousands of families in Haiti with clean water.

I am asking for your assistance once again, to enable us to do the following two, vital projects, both of which are in central Haiti, a place called the Artibonite Region.

1. To create three new, clean water sources for hundreds of families. These new water sources will become essential parts of each community, improving overall health, saving people hours each day when collecting water, and providing opportunities for a better livelihood. We need your help in raising $43,500 to make these three water sources a reality ($14,500 per new water source).

2. Helping 1,000 poor farming families to gain access to clean water, put more food on the table, and increase their income each month. These farmers have access to water sources and an irrigation system fed by rain water, but there has been drought for two straight years. They do not have clean water and they have lost their livelihoods. We have plans to improve their water sources and irrigation system so they can access underground water. Your help in finding $14,000 in support will make the first phase possible, bringing thousands of people clean water and empowering them to earn a good living each year!

The people in the communities we are working with in the Artibonite Region of Haiti are truly amazing. What really drew me to them is their strong desire to provide their children a better life, through hard work and dedication.

For both projects, the people in the communities that will be gaining access to clean water for drinking, cleaning, bathing and for farming are making plans to sustain their new water sources. They know that you and I can help, but it is on them to make it work. When future challenges occur, they have the motivation and the resiliency to address them. They just need our help in the beginning. These are the kind of people that International Action believes in and works with. 

With your help, we will enable families in the Artibonite Region of Haiti to provide their children a better life. On behalf of everyone at International Action, I thank you for your continued support.



Zach Brehmer,


P.S. Above is a picture of us with a farming family. With your help, they will have plenty of clean water to drink and to use for their crops, putting more food on the table and improving and securing their yearly income. 

Newly Installed, Long-term Supply of Clean Water
Newly Installed, Long-term Supply of Clean Water

In the Artibonite Region of Haiti, for the first time, we are in the midst of finishing a chlorinator project that we will be able to leave completely in the hands of the Haitian people. We still need your assistance so we can help as many families as possible. Evertime you help in enables us to work with more Haitian communities in creating a long-term, community-owned supply of water! Thank you for all you do.

Please find below information on how and why the projects are community-sustained.



Zach Brehmer

President, Board Member

International Action


The Clean Water for the Artibonite Region of Haiti Project —Background

In partnership with Sunrise Rotary (the local Rotary in Haiti) and St. Anne’s church from Hagerstown, Maryland, International Action has installed four chlorinators, water pumps (run on generators), piping systems, and water reservoirs in four communities nearby Dessalines, the center of the Artibonite region of Haiti. For each installation, a water committee of three members has been elected by the communities to operate, maintain and collect the local funds needed to sustain these systems. The most important part about this project is that it allows for a self-sustainable water treatment system after International Action has completed the design and installation. 

Long-term Planning

The ongoing costs associated with the project will be covered completely by the community created funding structure at each of the water stations. For every five gallons of water, people will donate $.01. The amount was changed from $.06 after further community meetings and budgeting allowed for such a reduction. This amount enables the communities to have a clean water program that they can eventually operate on their own, rather than relying on an outside party. The amount chosen allows the chance for an excess of funds of $2,365 for every water station. If the station does not bring in the funds expected, they will still likely break even, which is the main goal. The local Rotary (part of the community) will complete monthly evaluations of each site to see how the sites are functioning and if the fund collection structure is working. International Action will be called in if technical help is needed.

Below are the itemized projections that show the costs in running each water supply and treatment system on a yearly basis. Also shown is the anticipated amount that each local Haitian community has chosen to provide each year, in order to operate and maintain their new water supply.




Anticipated yearly operational costs: $4935/system

Anticipated yearly funds from Haitian community: $7,300/system

Excess Funds: $2365/system


Funds Donated per year, per system (By local beneficiaries)

 Potential Total Funds Donated

(Total Funds Donated per Day x 365)

$14,600 per year


Actual Total Funds Donated:

(Halved to anticipate poor families who cannot pay)

$7,300 per year


Anticipated Costs per year, per system

Operational Costs per year:


Chlorine Tablets: $225

Generator Fuel: $2,430

Residual Chlorine Test Kits: Donated by IA

Equipment Maintenance: $40

Administration and Staffing: $1,800


Replacement Costs (savings needed per year):

 Generator: $200

 Pump: $240


Total Costs per year: $4,935

Excess Funds Generated per year: $2,365




Funds Donated – per year, per system

Donated amount for water: 1 US Cent per 5 gallons of water. This price was modified after recent community meetings re-evaluated what was best for the community.

Total Funds Available Each Year:  While every community is slightly different in size, there are seven total water stations that will be operational once the three new water stations are completed.  On average, each station serves 10,000 people (an estimated 2000 families, assuming a family of five). Each family on average uses 10 gallons of water per day (using local information as most laundry in this region is done using surface water – each revenue projection in every International Action project is somewhat different as every Haitian region has different levels of access to other water sources, different community structures and a different purchasing power). This means that on average each water station should receive about $40 a day, or $14,600/year. However, from experience working in many other communities in Haiti, International Action has found that it is best practice to half this number when making projections as many families in Haiti are too poor to pay-in for water. This means that each station will theoretically earn a total of $7,300 each year. The revenue has increased since the previously submitted proposal as it was originally reported that families would continue to use surface water for cooking and dish washing, and only use the potable water from the water stations for drinking water. However, initial reports from the communities in the areas already with functioning water stations show that many families are using the water from the water stations for cooking and dish washing purposes, as well as for drinking water.


Operational Costs -- for each system per year


·         Chlorine tablets:

20 tablets/month x 12 months = 240 tablets/year

96 tablets cost $90 or $.9375/tablet x 240 = $225/year – the amount of chlorine needed has increased since the last proposal due to the unexpected volume of water consumed for cooking and dish washing purposes (as described above).  In addition, committee members have increased chorine residual concentrations due to concerns about cholera (given that the 2010 cholera epidemic started nearby). This increased-level of chlorine residual is completely safe and the extra costs can be easily covered by the revenue at each water station.

·         Generator Fuel:

Price of diesel as of July 2014: With increased water usage, 2 gallons are needed per day on average at $3.33 US/gallon

$3.33 x 365 days = $2,430/year

*A note on why diesel generators are being used as opposed to sustainable power solutions:

When the project began, International Action was going to use solar powered pumps, instead of pumps that operate using generators which require fossil fuels. The reasoning for this was two-fold: 1) to help ensure the sustainability of the project so the communities did not have to purchase fuel, which is the projects biggest operating expense for every water station and 2) be as environmentally friendly as possible. However, because the water stations were going to be providing water to so many people it was too expensive to provide the solar powered equipment. The communities did not want to use solar powered pumps because they thought they were too complicated to operate and were unsure how to fix them if they were to break. Hand pumps or non-fuel fed mechanical pumps are incompatible with the water treatment systems installed by International Action because they do not provide enough head to pump water to the top of the water tank and through the chlorinator. Usually, International Action installs water systems on pipelines that use gravity to transport the water from a piped system.  This is not an option at these particular sites because there is no piped water system – to create one would be a multi-million dollar project.  The use of diesel powered generators was decided upon by the communities, the local Rotary and International Action due to the availability of diesel in the communities, the ability of the communities to repair the generators or purchase new ones locally, and the savings on initial capital costs.

·         Residual chlorine testing kits:

Donated by International Action

·         Equipment Maintenance:

Pump: no maintenance needed during life expectancy of pump

Generator: The oil will be changed every 100 hours of use, and the spark plugs are only about $1.50 each.  Oil is also very cheap, about $20 a year.  We assumed another $20 will be needed for general maintenance, although will likely not be an issue during the first year of use as the generators are new.

·         Administration:

Each community water station has a committee of three people who are in charge of running the taps at the station, testing water, purchasing and refilling chlorine and generator fuel, maintaining equipment, collection and management of donated funds. The water stations are open five days a week.  There is one water committee member always on duty.  Meetings will be required to discuss chlorine and fuel uses and to check and manage the funds collected from the station. Each committee member will be paid $50 a month. This was changed from $150 by a recent vote from the community leadership, as this will be part-time work and the communities decided to lower the cost to purchase water from the water stations.

($1,800 a year for the entire water committee salary, per system ) 

Replacement Costs

All of the following costs will be put into a reserve managed by the local St. Marc Rotary Club, which is the main supervising entity for the post-implementation phase of The Artibonite Region of Haiti Clean Water Project – PHASE II. 

·         Generator

Life expectancy: 10 years. Replacement cost: $2,000.

Reserve to be built per year: $200/year

·         Pump

Life expectancy: 3 to 4 years due to Calcium carbonate built-up. Cost: Submersible pump: $880. Surface pump: $470.

Reserve to be built per year: about $240/year

In 2015, we have been able to begin one of our most sustainable projects yet: the Clean Water For Artibonite Project.

From start to finish, it has been designed by and for the people they are made to help. Together with community leaders, we created a plan to fund the operation and maintenance of each water pump system and their chlorinators. This is key to their sustainability, as each chlorinator and water pump that we installed needs fuel to run the pump generators, chlorine to refill the chlorinators, and workers running each pump and chlorinator. Funds also have to be saved for future replacements of any broken parts on the chlorinator, water tank, pump or piping. The money required for the water systems isn’t much by our standards but for a community where people make on average make less than $700 a year, we thought this would be a major challenge.

We were wrong.

During our last visit to Haiti, we discovered that people were paying three times what they needed to in order to ensure that they could keep using their water pumps and chlorinators. A quote from Mrs. Pierre, grandmother to 14 grandchildren in the local community, best describes why people are happy to pay more than they have to and why we are so encouraged by the project:

Why do you all look so shocked we are paying this much? We need this water. If we let it fall apart then we have to walk an hour and a half each day. I don’t want to have to do that again. Would you want to have to do that? It is not a question of want; we need this water.”  -Mrs. Pierre, Laraque village 

At another site, we were interested to see a long queue of people waiting to use the water pump. When asked why they bothered, they replied that the only other course of water was over an hour away –now this pump was in their village they wouldn’t have to spend hours collecting water, which was well worth the money.

The observation that communities can collect funds to maintain the water systems was one of the most inspiring things I have witnessed in my work at International Action. For Haiti, it gives hope for a sustainable, healthier future.

P.S. As an aside I thought I’d mention that Mrs. Pierre was very generous to accept having her photo taken with me. Unfortunately it is not included in the above report, as on our way back we had precarious river crossing (the road to this remote community being washed out by rain and erosion) and I fell in. With the camera. Just one of the many challenges of working in Haiti! 

We are so close to finishing five, large, long-term water treatment systems. They will provide 16,000 Haitian families with every day access to clean, safe water. The chlorinators are installed. The pumps, water tanks and piping are all installed. The people are ready to finally have affordable, sustainable access to clean, safe water.

A total of $7,060 is needed to complete the project. We are grateful for any donation you can provide to help us finish our work, so these 16,000 families will have long-term access to clean, safe water. If you are unable to support the project financially at this time, sharing this email with at least one other person could help us gain the support we need.

If we had this money today we would be able to finish the project by the end of August, 2015. When we say finish, we mean that project is ready to be completely run by the communities receiving the water treatment systems and the local Rotary Club, who will provide long-term monitoring, accountability, and leadership.

Half of the $7,060 needed will be used to help the communities create a platform to elect their community water committees and then train these committee members. The skills they will receive during these trainings will enable the committee members to operate and maintain the chlorinators and pumps, manage the project funds, and monitor each water treatment system. These water committee members will also be in charge of running the community financial support system, which is vital to the long-term sustainability of the project. Please contact me at to talk about this process if you are interested.

The remaining funds will be used to build walls around each of the five chlorinators as the communities want extra security for their new water treatment systems. Improvements to the well lining for two of the newly built wells, providing protection from contamination, will also be completed with these funds.

I will be traveling to Haiti on July 28 to oversee the wall building and continue discussions with Rotary on how to proceed. On the project info page you will find examples of some of the ways you can help us finish this vital project, providing 16,000 Haitian families with long-term access to clean, safe water. 

Many thanks

Zach Brehmer 

Executive Director of International Action


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

International Action

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Zach Brehmer
Washington, DC United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.