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Water Supply In Developing Countries


To expand access to safe water in communities currently lacking reliable sources through engineered systems, education, and community involvement. 


According to the World Health Organization, approximately 844 million people worldwide do not have access to an improved water source. This deficit affects the health, education, and economy of the global population. As a result, the United Nations recognized the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right in 2010. In an effort to support this right, Purdue formed the interdisciplinary, service-learning course “Water Supply In Developing Countries”. Since the conception of the class, the overarching goal has been to develop water treatment systems that are simple, affordable, sustainable, and accessible. Accomplishments in the Dominican Republic not only improve potable water access on a community scale, but in a broader sense, build a framework to develop a methodology to make an impact on a global scale.

Our Progress

The Purdue Water Supply in Developing Countries Class was founded in 2012 with the mission of providing access to safe drinking water to the La Vega region of the Dominican Republic. We build our first system in 2014 at the Ana Julia Diaz Primary School in Las Canas and our second system in 2017 at the Eugenio De La Cruz Primary School in Los Peladeros. Our third system was built in 2018 in El Mamey and our most recent system in 2019 in La Torre.

Class Components

  • The Design Team focuses on system installation, improving smaller components of the system, and improving maintenance practices.
  • The Monitoring, Evaluation, and Publishing Team evaluates the course’s performance and shares information about class outcomes through posters, presentations, and publications.
  • The Communications Team serves as the liaison between Dominican partners and the team on campus. They also promote the course externally and secure corporate partnerships.
  • The Entrepreneurship Team develops models for selling and distributing water in order to increase school funds and provide community-wide access to safe water.

The Future of the Project

Long-term, the goal of the project shifts from implementation to sustainability. Through the design and adoption of the water treatment system and educational programs, the project aims to positively impact overall health and foster community independence. The long-term community benefits are to increase access to and reduce the cost of potable water. Additionally, with multiple functional systems in the 5-mile radius region, the goal of increased inter-community collaboration with communication networks becomes foreseeable. This encourages the communities to rely on each other, allowing for the communities to become an independent team.