Keeping Water Safe in Peru
The serious need for clean drinking water is an issue that still needs attention – even today. Read on to see how Clorox is working to improve the quality of water for communities in Peru and how you can safeguard your water at home with bleach.
The danger of unsafe drinking water
Most people probably know that water scarcity is a global issue. But even more surprising is the fact that unsafe drinking water is a leading cause of illness, malnutrition and death among children under the age of five worldwide.1 This issue is especially pressing in Peru where one in seven people don’t have access to safe water.
Recognizing this serious need, Clorox partnered with my organization, PRISMA, to improve the quality of drinking water in communities across rural Peru through the Clorox Safe Water Project. What began just four years ago serving 3,000 individuals, will soon provide over 100 million liters of safe drinking water annually to 25,000 people in the Tambogrande and Las Lomas districts – one of the most rural areas of Peru.
Simple, scalable, bleach technology
Our approach is simple and scalable, and that’s one of the reasons it’s working. We’ve installed dispensers next to community water sources that provide a measured dose of bleach that makes it safe to drink. Sodium hypochlorite, the main ingredient in bleach, is the same technology used in municipal water treatment facilities around the world, and we’ve found a way to bring this same effective treatment to rural communities that don’t have the infrastructure to get treated water piped into their homes.
The power of health education
The other major reason we’re seeing more than 60 percent of these households now treating their water with bleach is health and hygiene education. Prior to the project, the idea of “invisible germs” in the water was a foreign concept to many in these communities. The Safe Water Project has helped families understand the connection between unsafe water and illness, and the power of bleach to disinfect their drinking water.
Communities take a leading role
The Safe Water Project has also rallied the communities in a new way. Community water leaders manage the bleach dispensers with care and pride and there’s a positive social pressure that encourages people to continue treating their water. The local government has also gotten involved. Three short months after taking office, the newly elected Mayor of Tambogrande ordered a new, much-needed water truck, jumpstarted a stalled project to build a second municipal water treatment facility and committed to building 15 wells to serve some of the more remote communities in the district.
Safe water in your home
By the way, the method used in Peru can be applied any time clean water is not accessible and when boiling water is not practical. Filter out any debris, add Clorox® Regular Bleach2 (see bottle for dosage instructions) and let it stand for 30 minutes. If needed, pour it between clean containers several times to make it more palatable. While germs can easily make their way back into boiled water, bleach stands “guard” for 24 to 48 hours after the water is treated.
To learn more about The Safe Water Project, visit www.clorox.com/our-story/safe-water-project.
1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
*Locally sourced Clorox® bleach disinfects drinking water