World Water Day: ADRA Transforms Communities with the Power of Water

SILVER SPRING, Md. – On the 22nd of March, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) joins the world in commemorating World Water Day, and continues to implement projects that make clean water available throughout disadvantaged communities around the world. ADRA recognizes the life-saving role of clean drinkable water, and its necessity towards maintaining and restoring healthy communities.

ADRA’s water and sanitation projects are designed to provide families with improved access to clean, drinkable water. By installing and rehabilitating new and existing water supplies, ADRA works to raise awareness and improve sanitation and irrigation systems, teaching beneficiaries to protect their water sources from contamination. In addition, ADRA works to make water readily available in emergency situations when clean water is scarce.

In Cambodia, after deadly fighting broke-out over a disputed temple in the Preah Vihear province in northern Cambodia, families fearing for their lives began to flee their homes to internally displaced person (IDP) camps. Need-assessments indicated a high demand for water sources within the camps. ADRA responded to urgent need of water by drilling wells to give water access to an estimated 2,500 families. The first completed well drilled by ADRA provided up to 2,110 gallons (approximately 8,000 liters) of water per hour.

In Zimbabwe, ADRA has been drilling boreholes in schools and communities, bringing life-changing water to thousands.

“The drilling is very relevant because it means people do not have to walk long distances to access safe water. Before, while at school, children would worry about fetching water for their families. Now that it is available at their school, they no longer leave classes,” shared ADRA Zimbabwe Country Director Zivai Nengomasha.

ADRA has found that drilling boreholes has propelled additional initiatives by community members and schools within the benefitted areas. Some schools have started offering new classes such as agriculture because of the new supply of water. Small-scale gardens are being cultivated and are successfully sustained, an example of one of the added advantages water brings.

In Waterfalls, a southern suburb of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, the Newstart children’s home was without a reliable source of water, and almost entirely depended on water from unreliable boreholes. This orphanage is home to nearly 70 children, some of whom are HIV positive. Prior to ADRA’s arrival to their neighborhood, the orphanage fetched water from a poor yielding borehole. Upon completing drilling, ADRA was able to provide Newstart children’s home with a consistently high-yielding borehole, giving 20 liters of water every two minutes.

“When drilling for boreholes, you really just have to pray and hope that you get water,” explained Nengomasha. “Now they have plenty of water for washing and cooking, and they can finally use their land to grow vegetables to eat. It is a miracle for that orphanage.”

The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day, and was first commenced on March 22, 1993. Each year, World Water Day highlights a particular aspect of freshwater, and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme for this year’s World Water Day is “Water and Food Security.”