Today is United Nations World Water Day, created to highlight the importance of water, and raise awareness of the two billion people worldwide who live without access to safe water.
For a time, after Hurricane Dorian, that two billion people included many Abaconians.
Salt water from Dorian’s storm surge had contaminated many rainwater collection systems and without electricity, water pumps wouldn’t work. Furthermore, Abaco’s main water distribution system had been badly damaged.
Within days, Water Mission – an American non-profit organization that designs, builds and implements safe water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions in rural communities and disaster areas – was on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
They set up reverse osmosis water stations in Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Elbow Cay, Man-O-War Cay, Green Turtle Cay and other locations, converting sea water into clean, safe drinking water for thousands of people per day.
In partnership with Friends of the Environment, they implemented rainwater collection systems and safe water storage capacity.
And in December 2019, they partnered with the local Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), UNICEF and The Goodness Tour to construct a massive water storage building and create the first-ever, solar-powered municipal water system in Marsh Harbour.
Known as Abaco Sunny Waters, the system was designed to restore Abaco’s pre-Dorian water delivery system and ensure reliable water access in the event of a future disaster or power outage.
Not only has Abaco Sunny Waters increased Abaco’s water reliability, but the 300-kilowatt solar array has increased pump efficiency by more than 30%.
To date, Water Mission has provided more than two million gallons of clean, safe water to the people of the Bahamas.
Water Mission was founded in 2001 by George and Molly Greene – beloved, long-time second homeowners on Green Turtle Cay.
When Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras in 1998, the Greenes were operating an environmental engineering company in Charleston, South Carolina. Having received requests for water treatment systems for the affected region, they couldn’t locate anything suitable. George and his engineering team set to work building and deploying systems to provided water to survivors of the storm.
Through this experience, the Greenes learned just how many people around the world do not have access to safe, clean water. And in 2001, they sold their business and founded Water Mission. Since its inception, Water Mission has provided safe, clean water to more than four million people in 55 countries worldwide.
Sadly, on July 17, 2019, Molly Greene died in a tragic accident while on vacation in Abaco. Less than two months later, Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco, and the Greene family and Water Mission brought their mission to Abaconians in need.
Today, on World Water Day, we remember Molly Greene, and we thank Water Mission for everything they’ve done to assist Abaco and Grand Bahama since September 1, 2019.
If you’d like to support Water Mission, click here.
To learn about other non-profit organizations that came to Abaco’s aid post-Dorian, click here.