Citizens in the USA take safe water for granted.  However, studies show:

  1. Worldwide 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.
  2. In many parts of the world people walk for hours to fill a jug with contaminated water.
  3. There are many areas in the world where a quarter to a half of a family’s annual income must be spent just to obtain water.
  4. Over 80% of illnesses in the third world come from waterborne diseases.
  5. Five million people die annually from water-transmitted disease; a large percentage of the dead are children.
  6. Contaminated water is the leading cause of death of children under five years of age.
  7. 50% of hospitalizations are caused by waterborne illnesses.

To address this staggering problem, Public Health International’s number one assistance program is ensuring access to safe water.  PHI provides the materials for the construction of a basic safe water system for each of its project villages.  The project villagers provide the labor for construction and attend training classes on public health and well maintenance.


This newly installed domestic water storage tank in Barbascal, Ecuador, 2002, is one of 44 water systems installed by PHI in South and Central America in 2002.


Each water system consists of a protected water source, a well and pump, a central storage tank, treatment equipment, appropriate chemicals, a simple distribution network to several central locations, an established maintenance program and a comprehensive public health training program.


PHI Country Program Director Rosario Rubio attends the inauguration of the newly installed water system in the village of Sitio Nuevo, Ecuador, 2002.