EOS Positioning helps Haiti achieve clean drinking water

October 3, 2019  - By 0 Comments

Haiti Outreach is on a mission is to bring clean drinking water to 100% of Haitian communes. The non-profit organization is using EOS Positioning’s Arrow Gold GNSS receiver to transform how water access is addressed.

In the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, poverty and corruption have stifled development. But Haiti Outreach is using geospatial software and donations to ensure every household has access to clean drinking water. Their technology includes mWater, EPANET, and Arrow Gold with Atlas.

In this video, you’ll hear from Haiti Outreach Director Neil Van Dine and Eos Positioning Systems CTO Jean-Yves Lauture on the importance of combining spatial strategy with a human element.

In Haiti 95% of unprotected springs are contaminated with E. coli, with 48% of water infrastructure across 50 communes delivering water contaminated with E.coli (Haiti Outreach 2018 study). For 22 years, a nonprofit called Haiti Outreach has tried to increase access to clean water by drilling wells for Haitian communities (called communes).

Haiti Outreach tried drilling new wells, but that didn’t solve the problem. The answer is education. “It’s all about creating a transformation in the way we think,” Van Dine said. “Water is free, but somebody has to maintain the well, replace parts, and so on in the long term. All those things cost money.”

Achieving a 50-cents per household fee for maintenance, Haiti Outreach still needed to know if everyone in Haiti had access to clean drinking water. The organization needed to know the location of every household in relation to water sources. They also needed to know if these water sources were clean, contaminated, functioning or broken.

Outreach decided to use the open-source hydraulic-modeling software EPANET, from the U.S. government, and hired mWater to build an integration. By running population-density overlays in mWater, it was possible to identify where there were enough households (25) to create a revenue stream to support a new well. With 100 households, the revenue could support a new in-home water-distribution network.

Photo: Haiti Outreach

Photo: Haiti Outreach

They also used Android phones and Arrow Gold with Atlas. By pairing the Arrow Gold with Atlas, they were able to get decimeter accuracy. (Atlas is a satellite-based differential correction service.)

“The Android phones got about 10 meters of accuracy on their own,” Haiti Outreach fieldwork coordinator Micki Johns said. “But the Arrow Gold with Atlas got us within that decimeter range.”

Data collected in mWater went into EPANET to simulate water pressure and flow.

Haiti Outreach used the findings to develop a community action plan (CAP). The CAP prioritized cleaning contaminated sources and ranked contaminated sources by the highest number of people who would benefit from a decontamination.

Learn more about the program here.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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