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Water Testing in Nicaragua with
the DelAgua Water Testing Kit
Brian Peters, Scott Cunningham and Walter Lopez – Amigos for Christ
Samuel Snow – Louisiana State University
Nicaragua is a lower middle income country in Central America, where access to clean drinking water is still an unresolved issue for many people. As of 2020, approximately 40% of Nicaraguans still live in rural areas (World Bank data), and ~50% of rural Nicaraguan families do not have reliable access to clean drinking water (SIASAR data). However, several international NGOs and many regional Nicaraguan government entities are working with local rural communities to drill wells and provide a clean and reliable source of drinking water for those families. Our NGO, Amigos for Christ, focuses on bringing clean water infrastructure to communities in the department of Chinandega, located in the northwest corner of Nicaragua (known as ‘the dry corridor’).
The problem is two-fold: 1) testing the water quality of these new machine-drilled wells, and 2) teaching rural families of the importance to drink from these new improved water sources and refrain from drinking untreated water drawn from rivers and shallow surface wells (which often contain disease-causing bacteria and pathogens) .
The Testing Programme
In order to test these new machine-drilled wells for the presence of thermotolerant coliforms, we employed the DelAgua single incubator test kit. We drew several samples from the machined-drilled water wells and newly-built community water storage tanks to determine the quantity of thermotolerant coliforms present in the drinking water. Fortunately, all of the deep machine drilled wells had water containing less than 10 MPN / 100 ml of water (WHO standard).
In order to demonstrate to rural families the importance of drinking this improved water source instead of untreated water drawn from a nearby river or shallow hand-dug well, we also tested several shallow hand-dug wells and riverine sources for the presence of thermotolerant coliforms. All of these sources of water had a thermotolerant coliform count of > 50 MPN/ 100 ml of water. We were able to show the families those results and compared those with the results from the machine-drilled well, which provided a strong and effective visual influence in convincing families to use the improved water source.
To find out more about Amigos for Christ and the work they do visit their website here.
“We are grateful to DelAgua for creating a kit that has been very affordable and extremely easy to use. We are now able to ensure that families in rural Nicaragua are drinking water free of bacteriological contamination, and show them the importance of drinking treated groundwater.” – Brian Peters, Amigos for Christ
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