The hurricane season of 2008 brought four devastating storms to the Caribbean island of Haiti. One of them, Hanna, destroyed the system that supplied potable water to the 25,000 residents of Bassin Mangnan. Residents went an entire year with only a small spring for drinking water.
Madsen Jean, a 33-year veteran of the Ministry of Agriculture, worked tirelessly to find solutions to the water problems that have plagued this community.
He collaborated with Arold Laborde, coordinator of the potable water management committee, and the USAID Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources (WINNER) project to build a new, sustainable water system. It opened with great fanfare on October 21, 2009.
The WINNER project rehabilitated the system by reinforcing the intake, building a storage basin of 25 square meters in a more environmentally correct site, and installing new pipes designed to better resist tropical storms. The planning process focused extensively on sustainability of the system. Madsen and Arold led a series of meetings with community members to promote and explain the concept of sustainable management.
Every family pays 25 gourdes ($.60) per month to use the system; this revenue is used to preserve the existing facilities. The committee also plans to rehabilitate the old cistern to increase storage capacity and to add a pump so that more people will have access to the water.