The life-changing impact of clean water in isolated regions

Access to clean and safe drinking water can have a life-changing impact on the health outcomes of women and children living in remote regions.

SurfAid’s Katuerukat program (meaning ‘prosperity’ in the local language) operates in the Mentawai Islands, an area with low health indicators that are worsened by isolation. The program aims to support families through economic opportunity, food security, and establishing access to clean water and sanitation.

Alpina, 29 lives with her husband and two children in the Bulasat Village, South Pagai District, in the Mentawai Island. Her village was one of the worst affected areas of the 2010 tsunami, which killed 509 people and caused 14 communities in South Pagai to relocate inland to areas lacking basic resources and with very little infrastructure. In Bulasat Village there had been efforts to build clean water facilities, but a large financial investment was required and plans were eventually abandoned.

When SurfAid began work in Bulasat village the communities were very welcoming and clean water was recognised as the key solution to sustain a healthier lifestyle. Prior to the program, Alpina had to walk over 1.5km to fetch water and was forced to make difficult decisions about how to prioritize its use across cooking, drinking, or bathing her children.

Clean water facilities were built in Alpina’s hamlet, right next to her home. They used a rainwater collection system and a water tank at each house. A total of 48 houses including Alpina's have benefitted from these facilities. Alpina was overjoyed about the life-changing impact clean water has had on her family’s quality of life and wellbeing.

“I felt so happy when I first had access to clean water. I no longer have to walk far with my children to bathe them. It made a great difference to our lives,” she said.

As of 2021, the program has constructed clean water facilities in five hamlets. Now over 72 percent of people in our partner communicate in the Mentawai have access to a new or improved water supply. 89 per cent of the population now uses a safe sanitation service.

These outcomes were made possible by the generosity of our SurfAid community. Your support directly empowers people like Alpina to provide her family access to the basic necessities of life.