11 April 2017

Wavin celebrates its humanitarian commitment to wastewater management

The lack of clean water and sanitation facilities is a major cause of disease for countries like Bhutan, a small land-locked nation in the Eastern Himalayas of Asia.  In celebration of World Water Day 2017, Wavin shares the story of how expertise and innovation in wastewater management can help to transform vulnerable communities into healthy, vibrant and empowered villages – with access to clean and safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene.

In Bhutan, a young girl fills a jerrycan so classmates can wash their hands.

World Water Day 2017 – Why wastewater?

World Water Day, which takes place each year on the 22nd of March, is focused on taking action to resolve the water crisis and on raising awareness about the need for sustainable development in countries without access to clean and safe water. According to the World Health Organization there are currently “663 million people relying on unimproved water supply sources, including 159 million dependent on surface water.” And, “in low- and middle-income countries, 38% of health care facilities lack improved water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% lack water and soap for handwashing.” 

So as to highlight these issues, “Why Wastewater?” is the theme for this year’s World Water Day.  Much of the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture does not get treated or reused, thereby contaminating our drinking and bathing water – as well as the water we use to irrigate our crops. It’s a problem that needs to be taken seriously – especially in areas where access to clean water and sanitation is scarce.

Helping others to help themselves

This is why Wavin, in collaboration with Unicef, contributed their time, expertise, manpower and products to the program, Providing Essentials for Children – to help children from impoverished countries in Asia and Africa gain access to safe water, better sanitation and hygiene education. We are thrilled to share one of our success stories – a pilot project in the Asian country of Bhutan, one of the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped nations. At our first site visit in 2012, we – along with Unicef and representatives of the Bhutanese Ministries of Education and Health – visited 5 of the schools that took part in the clean water and sanitation program.

Because of its erratic rainfall, with 8 months of drought each year, Bhutan has been in water crisis mode for some time. Schoolchildren have access to water for only 20 minutes a day. Our program brought 5000 students and their schools new water facilities (in 26 schools), new sanitation facilities (in 38 schools), rainwater harvesting systems (in 4 schools), and hygiene training (for 154 teachers). It’s a success story that we, at Wavin, our very proud of.  And we are also deeply grateful to Unicef, the Bhutanese Ministries and the lovely villagers of Bhutan for the opportunity to work on such a noble cause.  We will continue to contribute to helping developing countries with clean water and sanitation challenges.

Do what you can, do it with others, and do it with passion.
Guy Ryder (Chief of UN-Water) about the power of individuals to change the world

The girls from a boarding school decorated their private toilet facility.

The need for rainwater retention facility underground.

Wavin calls for action

We can’t solve the water crisis all by ourselves. So, we encourage everyone to spread the word, actively volunteer and contribute to the ongoing global effort to provide communities in need with the basic life essentials that so many of us take for granted: clean and safe drinking water, proper sanitation and good hygiene. Please share your success stories and ideas with us on Facebook. We would love to hear from you. It’s amazing and inspiring what people with vision, drive and passion (and compassion) can accomplish.

And, by the way, Happy World Water Day!

The children of Rinchen wash their hands before lunch time.