Improving Water Quality in the Dominican Republic


SEATTLE — Water quality in the Dominican Republic has been a problem for 20 plus years with a major factor being access to clean drinking water.

Although the country’s water quality has moderately improved for rural areas, it has decreased in urban zones. According to the World Bank, the improvement of water in rural areas of the Dominican Republic has increased from 75.8 percent in 1990 to 81.9 percent in 2015 while in urban areas water quality decreased from 96.7 percent in 1990 to 85.4 percent in 2015.

In November 2015, the Dominican Ozama Green Foundation found that urban areas of the country suffer from “environmental contamination.” According to the foundation, that means that “water and soil contamination, smog, and light, sound and electromagnetic pollution” are “experienced every day in cities.” In addition, research from the Ozma Green Foundation shows that urban water contamination is a result of “runoff waste from industry, agricultural plantations and households.”

The Dominican Republic has faced many challenges in regards to access to safe drinking water. Three years ago, water in the country was affected by microbial contamination. A study conducted by The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene stated that although the Millennium Development Goal Target, “to halve the proportion of global population without sustainable access to drinking water from 1990 to 2015,” was met in 2012, the Dominican Republic showed that out of all the improved drinking water sources 47 percent were of high to very-high risk water quality, and unsafe for drinking.

Due to extremely poor water quality, the population percentage with access to an improved water source has decreased from 89 percent in 1990 to 82 percent in 2011. The Dominican Republic falls behind the global estimate of 89 percent of the world population that has access to improved drinking water source.

Today, the Surge For Water program, partnered with Project Hearts, is working to provide water, sanitation and hygiene to the people of the Dominican Republic. In October 2016, Project Hearts installed 45 water tanks, which improved water storage for 167 people. In addition, 16 water filters were distributed allowing 60 people to have access to clean drinking water. These efforts are making a difference in the fight to improve water quality in the Dominican Republic.

Ashley Howard

Photo: Flickr


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