The week of January 19th-26th 2011, four delegates representing Livonia Rotary and Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church in Livonia traveled to El Salvador to learn more about several clean water initatives supported by Rotary International.

Sue Cole, Micki Huysken, Michelle Barrie and Amy Smith, accompanied by Canton Rotary member  Wayne Titus, had the opportunity to visit several existing clean water projectsin different small villages surrounding the city of Suchitoto. The porpose of those visits was to learn more about the different types of water purification and distribution systems as well as the process which water is managed in terms of water payments and system maintenance. Just as important though was the opportunity to meet with the people of villages and bear witness to the profound improvement in their daily lives and sense of empowerment gained by controlling and maintaining the essential element of water.

In addition to visiting various exisiting clean water projects, the delegates had an opportunity to visit the village of El Roble which is slated to be the next village to have it’s clean water system installed. The burden of collecting water became quickly and readily apparent by the delegates as they walked down the same long and treacherous path to the source of water that the entire community of El Roble travels every day. Numerous accounts by all the villagers expressed the very dire need of a system to collect water from the natural water source so that it could be pumped and collected into a tank in the village. From there the water is purified and piped directly into the homes of all who assisted in installing the system and agrees to pay their monthly water bill.  In addition, the village of El Roble is required to select a Water Board made up of leaders within the community to ensure that the water payments are collected so that the village can afford to make any necessary repairs to the sytem, creating a self sustaining water system. While members of the El Roble are responsible for the manual labor necessary with installing the system, the cost of all the materials for the El Roble project which at completion will actually provide clean water to El Roble and the neighboring village of Palo Grande is estimated between $300,000 and $350,000. These necessary materials  include tanks, pumps, solar panel and pipes is funded by humanitarian aid groups, one of the largest being Rotary International and specifically Livonia Rotary that presented a check for $2,500 towards the project.