Water and Sanitation

The Problem

In remote, rural areas of Nicaragua, we commonly hear stories of women and girls walking 2-­4 hours per day to fetch water. And that water may not even be safe for drinking. Contamination of rivers and lakes is a serious issue, and public investment cannot keep up. Agricultural expansion has contributed to large-scale deforestation, which has exacerbated the water issue.

Today, about 900,000 people in Nicaragua do not have access to clean water. With poor sanitation and low levels of access to safe water, water-related disease have become prevalent, deterring economic growth and impeding children from going to school.

Given the complex nature of water and sanitation issues across Nicaragua, ANF recognizes that there is no one-­size-fits-­all solution. Therefore, we adapt our projects to meet the particular needs of the communities we serve.

Why Water & Sanitation?

  • Use of improved sanitation facilities, 2011, rural: 37% (UNICEF)
  • Use of improved drinking water sources, 2011, rural: 67.8 (UNICEF)
  • Over 2.8 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation in Nicaragua, nearly half of the population. (WaterAid, 2014)
  • Around 300 children in Nicaragua die each year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. (WaterAid, 2014)
  • 900,000 people in Nicaragua don’t have access to safe water. (WaterAid, 2014)

Community-managed water wells

In rural areas without access to freshwater resources such as lakes, rivers, or springs, ANF perforates deep water wells and installs the piping required to pump water up into a water tank and then into running water access points. In order to ensure sustainability, ANF assists each community in the creation of a potable water committee, which pool in resources for maintenance and liaises with local governments.

Ceramic water filters

When rural communities do have access to freshwater resources but these are contaminated and unsafe, ANF provides each family with a low-cost, locally-made ceramic water filter that eliminates over 99% of bacteria and disease. The science behind the filter was developed by Potters for Peace.

Rainwater harvesting

For people living in extremely water-scarce areas such as remote hillside communities or on the slopes of volcanoes, ANF partners with local organizations to build large, closed, ferrocement tanks especially designed to let rainwater in but keep the disease and mosquitoes out.

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