Durotank Clean Drinking Water Project
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Info about the Durotank Clean Drinking Water Project
A village located on the upper Suriname River is home to close to three hundred villagers. The families have lived in the village for hundreds of years, during times of plentiful rains and nourishment, and also through times of tragedy and turmoil, including the Suriname Civil War. This war raged through the villages on the river, a time when guerrilla warfare was popular. During this time, the 1980’s, many families fled the village for fear of their safety. After a treaty was called, villagers returned in hopes to rebuild their lives.
Since their homecoming, the village has been in the continuous process of trying to provide a better place for their families to thrive, including the most recent addition of a meeting house for the Women’s Organization. Since the completion of this structure, the village has been seeking other ways to better the community. As the village is located near the top of the Suriname River, the water source contains flow from other villages, not to mention its own waste products. Since it is a river community, the river serves as kitchen sink, washing machine, wash house, and dishwasher; a multi-purpose river in which the women complete the majority of their daily tasks. It is not uncommon to find chicken bones, a lost shirt, or discarded tin can next to the muddy spot in which you are washing your dishes.
In addition to these activities, the river also serves as a water source for the village. This water is used for bathing and cooking, even seldom as drinking water. These activities vary from season to season. The seasons in Suriname differ from those in the US: two rainy seasons and two dry seasons. During the rainy seasons, the families bring water from the river to their homes for drinking and cooking, a quarter-mile uphill walk. They then store the water in rusted metal barrels or plastic tubs. During the dry season, the creeks and river become low and disturbingly unsanitary. Without the rainfall, the multi-purpose river becomes increasingly polluted with the remnants from cooking and cleaning. Even with heavy rains, the river still contains bacteria filled contaminants.
For these reasons, the village is seeking funding in providing clean drinking water. The Durotank Clean Drinking Water Project involves the purchase, transportation and installation of 53 Durotanks, or large water catchments, which will catch rain water. This allows the families to constantly have clean drinking water, without having to resort to muddy murky river water. The water project also ensures that villagers are trained about sanitary water practices and the proper steps for maintenance of the tanks.
In addition to the benefits the tanks will provide, villagers will also participate in the project design, proposal writing, project implementation and completion. This allows villagers to obtain the knowledge and skills required to help with village projects. Also, this helps to instill a sense of ownership in the project, which helps to reinforce the sustainability and longevity of the project.
Note: This summary was provided by a Peace Corps Volunteer and the community administering this project.