The Value of Clean Water
For 34 million people across Latin America, finding clean water is an endless struggle for survival. Inadequate access to a clean, safe water supply deeply affects community health, food security, and the environment. Just in Honduras, 623,000 people lack access to safe drinking water and another 1.63 million lack access to basic sanitation. Increasing access can significantly decrease instances of water and soil-borne illnesses, which make up at least 10% of health issues in rural Central America. Over 1.3 million school-aged children were treated for soil-transmitted intestinal parasites in Honduras in 2017.
In neighboring El Salvador, 428,000 people lack access to safe drinking water and 544,000 lack access to basic sanitation. In a country where 90% of the surface water is so heavily polluted it is no longer potable, providing access to clean, safe water is challenging. We believe building water and sanitation infrastructure is an investment that provides important opportunities; it creates independence for women and girls and enables families to feed themselves through subsistence agriculture.
Without reliable water infrastructure, rural communities become vulnerable to human rights violations often overlooked by the state. Due to rampant impunity, private business interests are often prioritized over the well-being of the people. Industries like mining, manufacturing, and agriculture routinely generate toxic waste that contaminates the groundwater that rural communities rely on. Private business interests continually lobby legislators to privatize water infrastructure and management. Salvadorans have a right to water that is clean and affordable, and privatization would allow businesses to exploit this already limited resource. The people of El Salvador are organized against any attempt to privatize water, but the fight is continuous, and the legislature often attempts to rush through different versions of the same law. We remain committed and vigilant to guarantee the right to water through advocacy and infrastructure support.
EcoViva’s commitment to clean water
For over 20 years, in partnership with professional engineers from Iowa and grassroots community organizations, EcoViva has provided access to water and sanitation infrastructure to over 14,000 families. This access enables family farms to practice safer agriculture by reducing the transfer of harmful intestinal parasites to the soil. Increased access to clean water also improves opportunities for economic and educational advancement by reducing the time needed to gather water and recover from water-borne illnesses. This year, community leaders in Montecristo, with technical assistance from engineer partners in Iowa, built and updated their water system, expanding access to 200 people. The Mangrove Association and engineers from Iowa will continue their partnership next year to build water & sanitation infrastructure in the community of Puerto Parada. With support from EcoViva, our partners are completing research to launch water and sanitation programs in Honduras and provide Leaders at Red COMAL with peer technical assistance from water & sanitation experts at the Mangrove Association.
We can increase the quality of life for hundreds of families by reducing soil and water-borne illnesses, but we need your help. With your support, stronger, safer, and healthier communities are possible.