Our Foundations have united yet again for another wonderfully rewarding project entitled, “Fuentes de Vida” which translates to “Source of Life”. Water is in fact a source of life, it not only provides hydration
for humans as well as plants and animals, it is also imperative to sanitation and electricity. Although water is a vital element in maintaining our ecosystem, it is surprisingly under-appreciated and wasted.
Those of you reading this article most likely have access to the internet and probably clean water, placing you within the fortunate percentile with access to H2O; nonetheless it is important to understand the living conditions of others around the world. Did you know that 3.4 million people die each year from a water related disease? And did you know that of all the water on Earth, just 3% is fresh water?
Just as Karin Krchnak, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) freshwater program, states in her The Value of Water article, “It’s is not just plants and animals that are at risk. Issues of water scarcity and poor water quality have serious social and economic consequences. Yet despite growing awareness of the importance of healthy freshwater ecosystems, human actions continue to degrade the freshwater ecosystems upon which we depend. Even with the policy movement toward integrated water resource management—the integration of ecosystem considerations in water management—remains largely neglected.” Due to this neglect our Environmental Director Jacob Kheel , with the mission, “to protect and restore the natural resources of the Punta Cana region and contribute to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic” began the Fuentes de Vida Community Water Project.
The project focuses on creating a water treatment plant to provide clean drinking water for the residents of Domingo Maiz, a small community of tourism workers located outside the Punta Cana region. The Domingo Maiz community water comes from wells contaminated by untreated sewage leaving its citizens with unsafe drinking water and at an exceptionally high risk of diseases. Unsafe water affects the community's health, its ability to work, and the safety of many children. Fuentes de Vida will drastically improve the health of the community's 200 families. Imagine having to worry every day about where your water comes from and whether or not it is safe to drink and or use?
The Fuentes de Vida project is innovative and complete in that it provides a clean water facility and also aims at combating poverty in Dominican Republic by educating the public. A wetland sewage treatment system is in the process of being built that will clean the communities' waste water and improve drinking water quality in the community wells. The project will provide expertise, resources and training to empower the 200 families (500 people) in Domingo Maiz to become agents of change and improve their community's sanitation needs. Community members will also receive training in basic hygiene practices and proper use and maintenance of the system.
. Grupo PUNTACANA hopes to improve the drinking water in the Dominican Republic, living and health conditions of Dominicans, one neighborhood at a time while preventing risks to small children, and creating a viable long-term solution to a significant environmental problem. The journey to ensure safe drinking water in the Dominican Republic might be long, but we are well on our way. Fuentes will provide a community-based solution to water sanitation for other communities in the Punta Cana region and the Dominican Republic.
According to our last Global Giving report, written in March of this year, the Puntacana Ecological Foundation and its project partners have raised about $90,000 and the community neighborhood association managed to get the land donated for the project! This is a huge reward especially since the land in Veron (region where Domingo Maizis located) is expensive and “After months of vetting and negotiating with various construction firms the project team reached favorable contract terms with a local company and excavation of the wetlands treatment area began February 12, 2014.
The construction of the waste-water treatment system is being overseen by a Response Peace Corps Volunteer and local engineers who have agreed to donate their time. With the eventual completion of the waste-water treatment system now in sight, Fuentes de Vida has begun making plans to begin working on the potable water and solid waste management (trash) elements of the Fuentes de Vida project. Since the last report we have had meetings with Engineers Without Borders, (EWB),-with the aim of creating a centralized potable water system for the community of Domingo Maíz. We are currently drafting preliminary agreements to begin fundraising for this work.”
There is still a lot of work to be done and any donation helps, please look into the project if you are interested and help us save the source of life! Click here to contribute and remember if you give monthly you double your impact! You get your donation matched!
We are also excited to tell the public about other water conservation efforts that play an important role in sustainable travel and ecotourism in the Dominican Republic, like our use of paspalum on the golf courses. Our Tom Fazio designed Corales golf course along with, P.B Dye’s La Cana course, are both covered in the beautiful paspalum plant that gets watered with sea water! Although this fact may seem trivial it is not, remember that fact mentioned in the second paragraph of this article about fresh water making up only only 3% of the Earth’s overall water? Well, the less fresh water we use the more there is to go around! Maintaining massive golf courses watered is a trying task therefore we save millions of gallons of water a year! Are you tempted to come visit us for a round or two?
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