Clean Water Project
Providing community access to clean, safe drinking water
The global water crisis
We don't think about water much in the western world. Accessing clean, safe water is as easy as turning on a tap in our home. But that's not the case everywhere. The UN suggests that each person needs 20-50 litres of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning; however, more than one in six people worldwide don't have access to this amount of safe freshwater.
The results are devastating. Globally, diarrhoea is the leading cause of illness and death, and 88 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities, together with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water.
The water problem in Mae Sot
For the most part, the water problem in the border community of Mae Sot (where Imagine Thailand's Clean Water Project is currently focused) is not lack of water; it is lack of water clean and safe enough to drink.
Each of the sixty migrant schools-–for students who have left Burma because of the violence and poverty caused by the military government–-must make a difficult decision. They can either buy expensive bottled water on an extremely limited budget or allow their students to drink water that, full of toxins, elements, and bacteria, isn't suitable for consumption. When students drink unsafe water, they often become sick–-sometimes chronically. In fact, 80 percent of all fatal childhood diseases can be attributed to a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation.
Imagine Thailand believes that every student has a right to affordable, healthy drinking water so that students can learn, develop and grow to their full potential.
Why filtration makes sense
Since 2008, Imagine Thailand has been working to provide each migrant school in Mae Sot with a source of clean, reliable drinking water: a reverse osmosis water filtration system. This water filtration system removes bacteria and toxins and cleans the water to nearly 100 percent purity. These systems are affordable and practical because they tap in to an existing water source (where schools don't have one, we often drill or find new sources) and deliver clean water right where it's needed.
Most systems cost 90,000 to 120,000 Thai baht, equivalent to about $3,000 to $4,000 Canadian dollars. The cost includes the physical system and installation along with parts and maintenance for three years. During the first three years, the school gradually takes over maintenance and ordering parts so that the system remains in use for years to come. The life of each system is approximately 10 years.
Because access to clean drinking waster is also an issue for the communities surrounding schools, we encourage and train school leaders to sell water to their community at a reduced rate--usually half the cost of commercial water. This provides the community with the benefit of affordable clean water and provides the school with an income source to help pay for water system maintenance and a new water system down the road. Schools also use revenue for food, teaching supplies and teacher salaries.
Schools partner with Imagine Thailand by providing labour to install the system and people to train in ongoing maintenance.
Does it really make a difference?
Clean water is essential to life and health. Improving access to clean water and sanitation is one of the UN's Millenium Development Goal targets and it is crucial for these children to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we see the joy--and relief--of the students and teachers after a new water system is installed, you understand how much this means.
How to get involved
To make a donation, visit www.imaginethailand.org/donate/. Send us an email to let us know you’d like to direct your donation to the Clean Water Project. To find out more about this project or discuss fundraising opportunities in your school, church or workplace, contact us.