United Nations World Water Day highlights the importance of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. Celebrated annually on March 22, this year’s theme is “Nature for Water,” focusing on solutions related to nature to help solve the water challenges we face today.
While many nature-based solutions are focused on replenishing forests, reconnecting rivers and floodplains, and restoring wetlands, Surge has taken a different approach to the concept of nature-based solutions. Our nature-based solutions include community and household rainwater harvest tanks, biosand and clay water filters, the protection of natural springs, and eco-san toilets.
We have installed water harvest tanks in Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Philippines and Uganda. These tanks collect rainwater off of roofs and store it for later use, and range in size from 500 to 10,000 gallons depending on the number of water users.
Collecting rainwater has two main benefits: The first is that in countries which have dry and rainy seasons, water harvest tanks provide access to water year-round. The second benefit is for the environment. Water collected off roofs is unable to cause erosion that would affect other local water sources, ensuring that the precious water sources that are available stay clean. To date, we have provided 178 rainwater tanks providing nearly 5000 people with water access. This includes 19 tanks in Cambodia, 156 tanks in the Dominican Republic, 1 tank in the Philippines, and 2 tanks in Uganda.
Surge also focuses on distributing water filters to communities who have access to water that is often contaminated and dangerous to consume. The water is filtered through natural process that happen inside the filter, removing sediments, worms, viruses, and other microorganisms. These filters not only reduce the dependency on electricity, but also stop CO2 emissions. If these families and communities did not have filters, they would be burning wood to boil the water. In the Philippines, one filter is able to mitigate 3.7 tons of CO2 annually (BSF Philippines). Surge has installed a total of over 5,350 filters in eight countries, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, Uganda, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nepal. These filters have provided safe water to over 50,000 people!
One of the 50,000 people these filters have helped is Martha Anyingo, from Kaberamaido, Uganda. Martha likes “drinking clean water, so I’m not sick.” Before Martha’s family started using a water filter she was often sick from the water she drank. Now that Martha has good health, she is able to do the things she loves: sing, dance, and play netball!
At Surge, we work hard to make sure that our solutions respect the needs of our communities and our planet. As we celebrate World Water Day this March 22, please join us in our mission and help us provide safe water to communities in need.
Donate to Surge now to support our nature-based solutions this World Water Day!
Written by Ashley Quinlan, Surge Fellow