Safe water is a basic requirement and right of all people yet sadly for many people it is not always available. In many places on the low lying islands of Ha’apai in Tonga for example, sea water encroachment during storm incidence leads to raw effluent entering the ground water lens contaminating ground water and resulting in outbreaks of Typhoid and other water borne diseases.
In response to this, EcoCARE has partnered with Rotary to bring water filtration systems to schools and hospitals across Tonga, particularly in the Ha'apai group of islands where encroachment is an issue. To date, one hospital and three high schools have had systems installed and now enjoy clean, safe drinking water.
With financial support from Rotary (Tonga Rotary, Christchurch Rotary Club and Queensland Rotary) EcoCARE has been able to establish a water filtration and desalination plant at the hospital in Ha’apai as well as three high schools across Tonga. Two of these were in the Ha'apai group of islands at Ha’apai High School and Princess Pilolevu Taufahau High School, while on Tongatapu we installed a system at Tupou High School. These systems included a 5,000 litre water tank, with micro and UV filters for safe drinking water.
As is the case with all EcoCARE programs we have included a significant education component to our water filtration campaign. Implementation in schools will enable the filters to not only act as educational resources by schools using the resources in physics, chemistry, biology, health sciences, maths/statistics lessons and so on but maintenance schedules can be met through electronics and mechanical workshop class requirements. Over time the understanding gained by students will filter into the broader community so that there is a general understanding of water related illness and filtration plant maintenance.