Field Note #15: Dominican Republic-The Ceramic Water Filter Factory

QUICK FACTS

Capital: Santo Domingo

Population: 10,400,000

Access to Improved Sanitation: 84%

Key Information: The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispaniola. It’s culture has strong influences from Spanish colonist who arrived in the 15th century.

WTW’s Impact: 89,496 people have been reached with clean water.

Water Solutions Used: Ceramic Filtration & WaSH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene)

BACKGROUND

The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which rests between Cuba and Puerto Rico. The country has a geographical layout of a mountainous central and western area, with lowlands in the southeast. The population is estimated to be around 10.4 million, with 40% of the population living at or below the poverty line. Improved drinking water is not accessible to 15.3% of the population, and 16% of the population does not have access to sanitation facilities. Water-related diseases take the lives of an estimated 1,300 people a year. The problem in the Dominican Republic is that a lot of people have access to water, but the water requires filtration. People buy bottled water as a result of the unsafe water they have available. Bottled water puts a strain on families economically because of the cost per month. Families spend around $20 per month on bottled water, so families living in poverty have to spend a significant portion of their income on water. The Dominican people have a right to clean water, and WTW is committed to relieving the burden.

The community of Reparadero, Dominican Republic

WTW works to in the DR through the Ceramic Filter factory created and dedicated to provide clean water to the people of the Dominican Republic. In addition to this factory, Wine To Water manages volunteer service programs that promote clean water projects across the Dominican Republic. These service trips promote ceramic water filtration distribution and sales.

The community of Reparadero, Dominican Republic

Ceramic Water Filter Manufacturing

WINE TO WATER’S IMPACT

Wine To Water has reached an estimated 89,496 people with clean water through the manufacturing and distribution of ceramic water filters. The factory continues to produce quality filters for the entire island of Hispanola. Ground operations continue to grow as we strive to reach those in need.

Lisa Ballantine, the developer of the ceramic water filter, poses with Doc in the Dominican Republic

Lisa Ballantine, the developer of the ceramic water filter, poses with Doc in the Dominican Republic

 

WATER SOLUTIONS USED

The main technology used for filtration is the ceramic water filter. The filter is designed to fit inside of a five gallon container fixed with a tap, and can last for up to five years. They are made locally from clay, sawdust (or combustible material), water and colloidal silver. The ingredients are measured, mixed together, pressed into a pot, and then fired in a kiln. The sawdust burns out to create small pore holes that filter out organic contaminates while the silver naturally kills bacteria in and around the filter. Our Ceramic Water Filters not only remove up to 99.9% of organic contaminants, but they also produce safe water that’s free of discoloration, odor, and unpleasant tastes. The filters work at a rate of 20 to 30 liters per day, to provide clean water for a family of five for up to five years. The WTW filter factory has the capacity to produce 1,000 filters a month, however 250 filters a month can sustain operations. A seven person team manages all operations in the factory. WTW uses the factory to produce, and works in coordination with other NGO’s to distribute filters throughout the island.

Along with each ceramic water filter, Wine to Water provides WaSH education. WaSH is an acronym, standing for “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene,” a group of interrelated major public health issues found in the developing world. It is extremely important for people to understand how water, sanitation, and hygiene are directly connected to health, education, and poverty. This is why WTW strives to include WaSH education with all of our partners and projects. These workshops are always interactive and fun, including topics such as local WaSH issues, what a healthy community is, disease transmission, and the cycle of poverty. Local leaders are given the responsibility of continuing the promotion of proper WaSH practices within their communities.

Lazarus Design Team