THE CENTRE for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) has granted the international engineering non-profit group Water Mission $250,000 to support ongoing disaster relief efforts in Abaco.
In a statement on Friday, the organisation revealed the grant will go towards developing two community-based projects on the island.
“Water Mission’s partnership with UNICEF began in the early days of post-Dorian,” the statement read. “Besides a financial contribution of $1.2 million made available for emergency interventions in (the) water and sanitation sector, UNICEF also ensured a ‘build-back-better’ approach in the project’s design in coordination with local authorities, such as Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) and the Ministry of Education for the long-term sustainability of the projects.”
According to the statement, the first project will create “one of the largest solar arrays in The Bahamas,” which in turn, will provide “disaster resilience for WSC’s municipal water systems in the Marsh Harbour wellfields in the Abaco Islands.”
“Marsh Harbour was one of the hardest hit communities in the Bahamas, with homes and infrastructure destroyed within hours of Hurricane Dorian making landfall. Innovative solar technology will integrate with the local power grid, providing consistent energy output to 22 of 25 wells. The solarization effort is focused on restoring a previously-fragile water delivery system and ensuring reliable water access for thousands of citizens in the event of a future storm.”
Water Mission said the second project will provide safe water for six area schools. The organsiation will also partner with Friends of the Environment to install rainwater collection systems, safe water storage capabilities and water, sanitation and hygiene education for school children. This will include best hygiene practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, non-profit group, which “aims to facilitate research on Abaco by providing lower cost housing, storage, basic lab facilities, and logistical assistance,” will also install a rain catchment system at the Kenyon Research Centre.
“WSC’s Marsh Harbour water systems will be more resilient and reliable in the face of any future storm thanks to the Abaco Sunny Waters project,” Water Mission CEO, George C Greene IV said.
“Our commitment has remained constant to the people of Abaco, starting with our immediate response in the first days of Hurricane Dorian, through the ongoing recovery effort strengthening water access for the citizens of Abaco, and safe water and WASH education to local school children.”
Water Mission’s restoration efforts in Abaco are a part of a government-led program supported by UNICEF on the Marsh Harbour solarization project. The solar panels are set to provide the surrounding community with a “more energy-efficient and reliable water system that is strengthened to endure future storms.”
300 of the panels will be installed in the first phase of the project and will provide 122 kilowatts of power to WSC, “helping to increase operational water production pump efficiency at Marsh Harbour’s 25 wells by up to 33%.”
“Water Mission was one of the first disaster response groups on the ground when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas 11 months ago, quickly providing safe water and sanitation solutions.
“This Category-5 storm devastated the Abaco Islands requiring an extensive ongoing recovery effort. Water Mission’s presence has been constant throughout starting with a disaster response in the immediate days after the storm hit, to important ongoing recovery project work bringing safe water, sanitation, and WASH education solutions.”