Haiti: Water Utilities Get Back to Basics
Marie Guerdy Thany, a resident of Jérémie, Haiti, puts it plainly: “Without water, we are unable to live a decent life.” For years, she—like the majority of residents in her urban commune—lacked reliable and regular access to a household water supply, forcing her to travel by motorcycle to fill her water jugs and haul them back home. The distance and logistics involved meant her family never had enough water for washing or bathing.
After years of rebuilding infrastructure following the earthquake in 2010, subsequent cholera outbreaks, and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Haiti is now better positioned to strengthen its semi-private water utilities and fill the significant capacity gap that limits improved water service delivery in the country. Through its Water and Sanitation Project, USAID works with five targeted semi-private water utilities to build their management and revenue-generating capacity and ultimately increase their sustainability. This model is paving the way for all of Haiti’s water utilities to become more self-reliant.
USAID supported the collaborative development and customization of the cloud-based monitoring system, mWater, that enables real-time monitoring of the utilities’ financial and operational systems. “mWater has helped us update and keep track of our internal data on leaks occurring within the system,” says Jocelyn Laurent, the technical director of Jérémie’s local water utility. “We’re also able to identify and catalog leaks on the spot and create plans to address them at a later date. While we still have more work to do, the local population is happier with our service and efforts.”
Households like Marie’s are now beginning to experience the benefits of improved water services. “The water saved us,” she explains. “Water is a blessing.”