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Clean water project 2012

2012 April 2
by scott

Tengo sed” (I’m thirsty) are words that we hear too often from the children at Westfalia.  With a water supply that is unfit for drinking, they need to boil drinking water every morning for distribution to the houses.   The supply always runs out before the day does.  To alleviate this problem, our friend George S. with a lot of amazing, technical help from Randy is installing a water purification system at the main kitchen. Currently the orphanage gets its water needs from the local river which runs openly, and unsafely, past livestock and other pollutants. Recent water tests have shown alarming bacteria levels in this water. The total coliforms were 500 colonies/100ml (western standards are “less than 1” coliform for drinking water) and the fecal coliforms were 300 ( western standards are “less than 200 fecals” for “contact water” which is washing and bathing). So the water the 100 children use is not even safe to shower in!

Acceptable Western standards Westfalia water
Coliform bacteria (colonies/100mL) less than 1 (for drinking) 500
Fecal coliform bacteria (col/100mL) less than 200 (for bathing) 300


They also have access to a well through the use of a generator to pump the water to the orphanage. The cost of fuel for the generator is about US $30 per day which they can’t afford so they use the river water unless it is deemed too unclean (solely by appearance – no testing), in which case they reluctantly use the generator. Even with the well water, it is still unsafe for drinking.

Unsafe cleaning water can be overcome by boiling, and Westfalia does this where possible. They boil water daily to try to meet the needs of safe drinking water and cooking water for the 100 children and staff. This is a very slow and tedious daily process and it still doesn’t meet their entire needs. Not to mention that the water for washing dishes and bathing (that goes directly to the 7 houses) is TWO AND A HALF times higher in CONTAMINATION than MINIMUM Western standards.

Check out the embedded video of the  boiling water process

The cost for the primary components for the water purification system we are installing at the main kitchen is being paid for thanks to the generous donations by members of British Expats and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their help. Now we need your help too. We are in need of additional funding to replace a roof top water tank at the kitchen and also a replacement pump for a large water holding tank as well as a few other items to ensure that we have covered all of our bases for this project.  This project is intended to fill an immediate need for a ‘single point’ clean drinking water supply. The ultimate goal is to obtain sufficient funding to expand the project to serve all 7 of the houses occupied by the children.   That will involve a significant increase in the size of a water purification system as well as new piping to the houses.

All of us have the luxury of simply turning on a tap to get all the clean drinking water that we need.  These children do not. All of us can take a shower in water that is not infested with bacteria.  These children cannot.  We hope that you will join us in this important effort to ensure the good health of these wonderful kids. If you are able to help us with this important project please send us a donation, and remember every dollar counts! Thanks.

One Response Post a comment
  1. April 5, 2012

    Fascinating stats Scott, and another reminder of how fortunate we have it in Australia. Keep up the amazing work, making a really positive difference to the lives of those kiddywinkles. I’ll forward this onto my network.

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