Our Agua Yaku team just got back from Cochabamba where we participated in a training workshop at a local university on how to measure water quality and evaluate community water systems. The knowledge we gained will be invaluable as we continue to expand the services we offer families and communities throughout Bolivia. Water wells are a great way to bring clean water to people right in their homes, but unfortunately, it’s not possible to drill wells in every part of Bolivia. In the mountains we run into impenetrable rock and in other places the water it too deep to reach with our drilling rig. Alternatives to water wells include capturing spring water, rain water, or treating surface water from rivers or lakes so that it will be clean enough to drink.
We are excited about a new partnership in 2010 with a Canadian Christian NGO called The Water School (http://www.thewaterschool.org/). The Water School promotes a solar disinfection technology called sodis—a simple way to disinfect water using 2-liter plastic drink bottles, and the sun. Instead of boiling water, scientists have recently discovered that heat and UV rays from the sun are more than sufficient to kill any disease or sickness causing pathogens in water—including bacteria, parasites, viruses, etc. Water stored in plastic bottles is safe to drink after it has been exposed to the sun for one day (or two days if it is cloudy). In 2010 Agua Yaku will begin teaching the sodis technique along with hygiene and sanitation in communities where clean water is not yet available through wells or sanitary distribution systems. Did you know that over 5 million people die from waterborne diseases each year and that the majority of preventable deaths are a result of the water they drink? Something as simple as teaching people how and why to drink clean water will save many lives in Bolivia. The task of teaching sodis will afford our Agua Yaku team a wonderful opportunity to travel to many new communities in Bolivia where we can work with local pastors and teachers, sharing the love of Christ as well as providing clean water. Of course we will continue to drill new water wells wherever we can. I have no doubt that our work teaching sodis will reveal many needs and new opportunities for drilling wells. Pray for Agua Yaku as we venture into this new form of ministry and sharing God’s love.