Put it in the Ground

Michael Johnson is our organization's accountant. He is also a necessary part of our development work in Latin America, where he helps implement ecology projects from building to simple water solutions.

I enjoy reading articles pertaining to sewage and sanitation.  A while ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article highlighting recent upgrades to their wastewater processing plant. The purpose of the article was to communicate why the upgrades to their systems were needed, and in doing so, explained the entire process of how one plant turns sewage in 24 hours into water that is released into the river!  Prior to the article, I was largely ignorant to the process: I’m American, we flush and forget it, all the while forgetting the benefit such systems provide for us.  

When I consider the access I have to clean water, and how water management is not a burden to my daily life, I can’t help but think of my friends in El Salvador who suffer the consequences of difficult water access and gray water management on a daily basis.  They face remarkable difficulty managing the water they need and use every day. Waterborne illnesses and mosquito borne diseases are real risks to them. Flushing toilets are a luxury many cannot access, and water runoff from rain, washing clothes, and bathing, can pool in stagnant, dirty puddles.

We are always thankful for the cooperation of volunteers in carrying out our water projects, like this team from Paragould, AR that helped pipe water to an elderly man's home for the first time.

When I look at this issue in El Salvador, Jesus’ words of “love your neighbor as yourself” drive me (and my team) to implement practical ideas to improve their living conditions.  When we consider that diseases like Chikungunya, Zika, and Dengue are spread through mosquitoes, and mosquitoes breed through stagnant water, we know that dealing with water is a pressing need. For the health of our neighbors where God has planted us--we have to get water into the ground, where it belongs.

Our regional team in El Salvador has seen these needs, and has begun to implement solutions to these problems.  Non-flowing water should not be freestanding in streets or courtyards.  It needs to be put into the ground, which is precisely what our grey water catchment systems, incorporating underground drainage fields do.  We are hopeful that this cost effective and easily duplicated  technology will bring life to and health to the those we serve.

Will you join us in our efforts? One greywater catchment system costs $150. This is just one way we are working to manage water in our local area in El Salvador.