Posts Tagged ‘Water Resources’

’til their cup overflows (Part 3 of 3)

The first two parts of this article have focused on the pre-earthquake conditions in Haiti. How many of us really knew what the situation was like there related to their living conditions prior to the earthquake?

Enter the earthquake into the situation: now their stressed environment is broken. And one might ask… why in the world would the good Lord allow something like this to happen?

I really don’t proclaim to know what the message is but I’m just thinkin’… maybe we should stop for a minute to reflect on our situation. If you consider the economic crisis that we’re going through, and how so many of us have had to adjust and learn to live a different lifestyle, maybe the message has something to do with this…

“… we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” – Romans 5:3-4

Being grateful in tough times is one of the hardest things to do, we tend to think “why in the world is this happening?” and perhaps we should be praying “thank you Lord for this opportunity to grow!”

Finally, I wanted to ask that you continue to do what you can to help the people of Haiti. Remember, their fragile world is still broken, and it will be quite some time before they can even get back to the life they knew before the earthquake. Living Water is one of the many great causes that is helping out there. Please consider helping our brothers and sisters in Haiti in whatever way you can.

Thanks, and Be Great!!


’til their cup overflows (Part 2 of 3)

(Part 2 in a series about the water crisis in Haiti)

… the water that goes into the cup…

It’s helpful to understand a little more about the country of Haiti to put the water situation into perspective… According to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (US ACOE), Haiti has an average annual rainfall of 55 inches. That amount is substantial, but it is also highly variable depending on where you are in the country. Variations in the geology and precipitation affect the availability of water in Haiti.

If we think of the water resources in Haiti in terms of Surface Water and Ground Water, and at the same time focus our discussion on the geographical area of Port-au-Prince (the largest population center in the country, and the area receiving the most damage from the earthquake), we find can define some specific water supply challenges in Haiti.

Surface water is perennially available in this geographical area from two major streams that originate in the mountains to the east of Port-au-Prince. The municipal water system in the city does not use any of the surface water for its supply as the water is heavily polluted near the city from human sewage, solid wastes and industrial chemical contamination. However, for much of the city’s population, the municipal system does not provide water (the municipal system only provides water for approximately 1/3 of the population). The only source of water for the remainder of the population is from the contaminated sources, including the two major streams, along with smaller streams, irrigation ditches, and the city’s storm water drains. This usage leads to increased risk for the people of developing malaria and Dengue fever, which are endemic to the area, and gastrointestinal diseases and food poisoning, with children and seniors being at the highest risk.

The subsurface geology in the area of Port-au-Prince is highly variable and, consequently, so is the availability of ground water as a resource. The surficial and near-surface soils and rock in the area consist of alluvial and carbonate deposits as well as sandstones and conglomerates. Some of the alluvial deposits also lie within an area affected by saltwater intrusion and are, therefore, not desirable for use as a water resource. Springs are also prevalent in the area south of the city. The main sources of water for the municipal system are from two well fields to the east of the city, and from a series of springs to the south. These sources are all facing major problems that are decreasing the quantity and quality of water entering the municipal system.

Water is obviously a precious resource that we can’t live without, imagine living in Haiti where clean drinking water is not a given like it is for most of us… what else is there in your life that you feel is absolutely necessary to live? Do you think the people of Haiti would answer this question in the same way?

’til their cup overflows…

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

(Part 1 in a series about the water crisis in Haiti)

Living Water

First the background, and the issue…

Haiti is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and one of the poorest in the western hemisphere. Increased urbanization in recent years, shifting populations from more rural areas to major cities, like Port-au-Prince, has strained the natural resources essential for sustained life. An inadequate and unsafe potable water supply, in part due to the lack of public wastewater treatment and sanitation systems, is a key issue for the people of Haiti.

In Port-au-Prince, the domestic water supply system is capable of serving less than half of the population. The system’s water sources include mountain springs and water wells, and this system doesn’t utilize the more-heavily contaminated surface water sources.

There is currently no public collection and treatment system for wastewater in the country, leading to widespread pollution of the water resources. The primary contributors to the pollution include domestic wastes along with agricultural runoff.

Haiti has drawn recent attention due to the unfortunate, catastrophic earthquake that centered near Port-au-Prince. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) says the aftershock sequence of the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Haiti, on Jan. 12, 2010, will continue for months, if not years. The frequency of the aftershock events will diminish with time, but damaging earthquakes will remain a threat.

In the wake of the recent earthquake in Haiti, the most critical resources for the survival of these people include safe drinking water, along with food and medical treatment.

Have you identified any good causes to help the people of Haiti address their needs since the earthquake?