The Crisis

The Water Crisis in Nicaragua

Half of this isolated northern Caribbean area is without access to clean water or toilets. Known as the "Land of Lakes and Volcanoes," Nicaragua has abundant sources of freshwater, but little of it is safe to drink or readily accessible. 900 thousand people live without safe drinking water.

Years of insufficient public investment following the upheaval and devastation of war and natural disasters, contamination from mining and agricultural activities, and extensive cattle ranching causing deforestation and soil erosion, have left many people without safe water. Similarly, nearly half the country's population lives without an adequate toilet.

Water-related diseases exact a huge toll on families' health, keeping children out of school and stifling economic growth. The exhausting task of water collection usually falls to women and girls, who have little time left for work or school.

According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program Report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 85% of people in Nicaragua have access to improved water sources and 52% have improved sanitation facilities. However, there is a large disparity between rural and urban areas: in rural areas only 68% of people have access to safe drinking water and 37% have improved sanitation.

More Water Facts

  • Nearly 3 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Nicaragua.
  • Nearly 300 children in Nicaragua die each year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
  • Nicaragua is considered the poorest country in Central America,with almost half of the population living below the national poverty line.

The Water4 Solution in Nicaragua

In April 2012 Water4 worked with WaterAID in Bilwi, Nicaragua on a joint project to train members of WaterAID working in the area. The training was successful, and the team was able to complete a well at a school on the outskirts of town.

The well is still effectively serving the school and, beyond clean water, is being used by a group of volunteers to mix concrete and build much needed upgrades to what used to be an over-crowded, two room school.


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