Water Filtration Project

Creating a sustainable system for a Salvadorian community.

Isla del EspĂ­ritu Santo is an island off of the coast of El Salvador and home to a small, rural community. The people were suffering from significant health issues stemming from bacterial contamination in their water sources. Economic limitations kept them from establishing a sustainable water system on their own.

I stayed on the island for nine days with a group of engineers. We installed a water pump and filter into an underground well and laid the piping to the island's medical clinic and elementary school to provide them with clean, running water.

My specific role was to come up with the simplest and most effective way to bring clean water to people's homes. Using five gallon buckets and portable filter hoses, we built over sixty filters for residential use. The greatest challenge was finding solutions that were specifically tailored to this community based on their environment and culture, since the filters themselves won't make a difference unless they're easily adopted into their every day lives. We made supplementary videos and posters and held interactive education sessions to convey the importance of health consciousness and maintaining the systems. It's one thing to have access to the technology, and it's another to form a relationship that gives it significant cultural grounding.