In Tanzania, a young girl returns from her trip to the local borehole well carrying the ubiquitous yellow water container on her head. She smiles, partially because there is someone here to smile at (it’s her natural reaction to people), but also because her trips for water have shortened from hours to minutes. Easy water access has become a reality in this village.
No longer does little Imani have to trek for miles to fetch water. No longer does she have to miss school just to provide this basic need for her family. She now has access to regular running water, piped up from an underground aquifer and dispensed directly into her community.
There’s Something Missing
And yet, there is something missing from this picture. While the global organization who provided the borehole well did a lot to educate the citizens of this village about the importance of sanitation and hygiene, the realities of village life sometimes undermine those efforts. Recontamination–clean water getting dirty again–is a real problem here.
Sometimes it comes from carrying water in dirty containers. Sometimes it’s because rodents find their way into storage containers. And sometimes it’s because little ones like Imani simply can’t help but to take sips directly from the jug, even on their much-shortened journey home.
Bacteria, it turns out, have very little grace for such real-life scenarios. When dirty hands, mouths, animals, or other contamination sources come into contact with clean water, it turns into dirty water. The thousands of dollars spent on drilling equipment and pumps is thwarted by a 7 year old (or a 2 year old goat). This is not Imani’s fault, but it quickly becomes her problem. Since young children are the most likely to die from waterborne disease, Imani stands to lose much more than the contents of her stomach if her water is contaminated.
Going Beyond Water Access
Clean water access is important, but clean water access isn’t enough to fight the monsters of waterborne disease. While much effort has been made, and much money spent, to provide poor communities with clean water access, there is still a need for filtration at the household level. And though a variety of water transport devices have been distributed to ease the burden of carrying water, there is nothing in those devices to make the water any cleaner. The best way to ensure the consumption of clean, uncontaminated water is to clean it right before it’s consumed.
Unfortunately, Imani and her family have learned this lesson the hard way. Fortunately, they have all survived their bouts of waterborne disease, and they now protect themselves against recontamination with a simple household water filter. Their UZ-1 point-of-use water filtration system from Uzima Water Filters serves as a barrier against whatever little creatures have gotten in the water between the well and the front door.
Safe Water Readily Available
With the UZ-1, water is filtered into the clean water container and is not handled or exposed again until it is dispensed into a cup or pot for use. No animals or little hands touching the water. And by filtering 20 liters in about 20 minutes, filtered water can be used freely and frequently, without having to be stored for long periods of time. Imani and her family can filter 20 liters of water, use it for cooking, drinking, and washing up, and then, by the time they’ve finished drying the dishes, they can have another 20 liters ready for use.
For Imani’s family, the borehole well represents a huge burden lifted, but the UZ-1 water filter serves as the final barrier to disease, and brings them health and peace. No wonder she’s smiling.
For more information about Uzima Water Filters, visit uzimafilters.org