The Water Well Trust, in partnership with The Chris Long Foundation and the Groundwater Foundation, has announced successful projects to bring clean, running water to families in Virginia and Illinois.
The Suffolk, Virginia, project was a first for the Hometown H2O program, an extension of The Chris Long Foundation’s Waterboys initiative and the result of a partnership with the Water Well Trust and Xylem Inc. announced in late 2019. The funds the drilling of water wells for low-income households that do not have access to water at home or within a reasonable distance.
In Suffolk, the Crawford family has four children and one on the way. They were displaced from their home after their water well failed and they could not afford to drill a new, deeper well. The family asked the Water Well Trust for assistance. The trust, along with Hometown H2O, Xylem and its partners, completed the new water well within a week. Partners on the project included Noland Supply of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a WinSupply company; and Creason & Sons Well Service Inc. of Zuni, Virginia.
“This family’s situation is not an isolated instance of the water challenges facing many lower-income rural communities in the United States,” says Chris Long, two-time Super Bowl champion and founder and chair of the Foundation. “Addressing domestic water needs is an important next step in our work at Waterboys, which is why we created Hometown H2O. Having our first project in my home state of Virginia is special to me, but it is just the beginning of our U.S. work with the Water Well Trust and Xylem to impact lives through the gift of water.”
Expectant mother Belinda Crawford expressed her family’s gratitude.
“These volunteers changed our way of believing. They even changed our expectations of people. They gave us a lot. They’ll always have a place in our hearts.”
The Illinois project kicked off the Water Well Trust’s partnership with the Groundwater Foundation, which donated $100,000 to the trust in 2019 to drill water wells for low-income families across the U.S. The foundation, which focuses on local groundwater education and action, merged with the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) in 2018.
In Crete, Illinois, the Saleh family’s well failed due to a broken casing in July 2019. Unable to afford a new well, they were forced into costly, short-term solutions to provide the family with water. However, with winter approaching, their short-term solutions would be unworkable.
The trust and the foundation assisted the family through the entire project, from soliciting bids from well drillers to the final installation of the system.
“I’m so thankful for the partnership between the Groundwater Foundation and Water Well Trust because there is nowhere else I could get a loan for a new well, especially not one I can afford for me and my family,” says Marvet Saleh.
Currently, there are 1.5 million Americans lacking complete plumbing and access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water. The Water Well Trust pays for the initial cost of drilling a well and participating families are given a 20-year, 1% interest loan.
“These partnerships provide invaluable new resources for meeting the needs of Americans without access to clean, safe water,” says Margaret Martens, the trust’s program director. “For them, every day without water is a struggle. Partnerships with Hometown H2O and the Groundwater Foundation are helping us fulfill the promise of a better life for these American families much more quickly.”
The Water Well Trust maintains a wait list of American households requesting funding for the drilling of new wells or rehabilitation of non-functioning wells in high-need, low-resource rural areas. Prospective applicants can download the application form and instruction letter from the Water Well Trust website.
The Water Systems Council established the Water Well Trust in 2010 to provide clean, sanitary drinking water to Americans who lack access to a reliable water supply and to construct and document small community water systems using water wells to demonstrate that these systems are more economical. For more information, visit www.waterwelltrust.org.