UPDATED 1ST MARCH 2011
In January 2007 on a visit to the island of Lagonave, one of the Lemon Aid team was taken to visit a 600 strong primary school in a town of Troullijene. This town is about 18km from the main island town of Anse a Gallet and is one of the most desperate places on the island of. Within the town there was NO access to potable water. The nearest drinking water wass from a cave or a mountain stream and neither was clean and safe to drink. Lemon Aid decided to focus on bringing clean drinking water to the people of Troullijene.
No one could have known in January 2007 just how hard this task would be. To get the drilling rig to Troullijene extensive road works had to be carried out. Unfortunately as the rig was on the way to Troullijene in August 2008 the weather turned and made the new road impassable. The hurricane season of 2008 was one of the worst on record bringing unprecedented flooding across Haiti. Much of the new road work was extensively damaged or washed away and getting the rig to Troullijene became impossible. The money spent on road work was not wasted however as the drilling rig managed to get half way to Troullijene in September 2008, to a town called Etroits. The rig, managed by GUTS church, drilled 9 fresh water wells in this community and surrounding areas. The town of Etroits now gets all its clean water from these wells. Troullijene was simply not achievable in 2008.
In 2009 Lemon Aid contracted the smaller rig, managed by Haiti Outreach to drill a well in the Compassion Project in Troullijene and also its neighbouring community Gros Mangles. The location of Troullijene and Gros Mangles by the coast meant that it was impossible to hit fresh water in these locations. The water too salty to drink so the wells were capped whilst a solution was saught.
Compassion UK agreed to fund a pilot “solar powered reverse osmosis system” in a Compassion school in the main island town of Anse a Gallet. This system harnesses the power of the sun to remove salt and impurities from water and then force water through a UV filter to kill bacteria. This system is now operating fully and children in the school have access to unlimited clean drinking water each day. At a cost of $32,000USD per system it is not cheap but to see the smiles on the kid’s faces as they tasted pure drinking water for the first time was worth every penny. Getting the pilot system to function in the main town where installation engineers were close to iron out teething troubles was essential before placing such a system in a rural area. You can see a video of this system on the Lemon Aid homepage.
With the pilot system operational Compassion UK and Lemon Aid agreed to co-fund solar powered reverse osmosis systems in the communities of Troullijene and Gros Mangles locating the systems in the Compassion projects. In August 2010 the system was installed in Troullijene at a total cost of just under $40,000USD. In September 2010 the system was opened to the community. This system currently produces around 2000 litres of clean drinking water using only the power of the sun onto the solar panels. Justin Dowds from Lemon Aid was recently able to visit the system and take some photos that you can see in the gallery on this page. There are some teething problems with this system that are currently being investigated but the system is operational every day and has become even more of a valuable resource with Cholera strking the island in the last few months. Ultra Violet kills Cholera and so this water will remain safe to drink even if Cholera became a major issue in this community.
In the community of Gros Mangles however analysis of the water has deemed it unaffordable to install a solar osmosis system there. The water is so salty that the monthly running costs would be more than the community could afford. In January 2011 a submission to the Haitain Water authority for a grant for Gros Mangles was submitted by our friends at Haiti Outreach. If the grant application is successful then a $160,000USD system will be installed in the mountains to produce 32,000 gallons of water per day. This water will be pumped to three distrbution points in Gros Mangles. The system will sell the water at around 7.5cents for 5 gallons to ensure that this system is completely 100% sustainable. Haiti Outreach will establish a community water board of Haitians to manage the system. If the grant is successful Lemon Aid has agreed to contribute $40,000USD to this system. (Our friend Bill Cody in California is setting up a new non profit in USA and has agreed to fund $15,000USD of the $40,000USD). We await the outcome of the grant application in May 2011