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As we stay snug and warm in our warm comfortable homes where have more than enough food in our fridge, let us not forget all those still suffering from the effects of this year’s series of hurricanes. We remember the magnitude of Harvey then Irma and then Maria that devastated entire nations in the Caribbean. It may seem like old news but the islands are still suffering. Water and electricity are slowly being restored but hundreds houses are beyond repair with thousands more not presently habitable. Water is often only available through standpipes. Water and wastewater utilities are struggling to restore services that we take for granted. 

As water and wastewater professionals, we are in a unique position to help. Recovery will take months to years and the next hurricane season, which forecasters predict will be as bad, if not worse, than this year's, starts in a few months. As each island tackles its challenges, it will need the support of qualified professionals on site. What many of these islands will need is qualified operators to oversee repairs and recovery for brief stints.

CWWA is working with a coordinator in the Caribbean to match water and wastewater professionals with islands in need. It costs about $1,000 to get an operator from Canada to the islands, and then local services will cover all food and housing costs. Our coordinator has arranged for operators to work under the Caribbean Emergency Disaster Management Agency (CEDEMA), which will cover them for insurance purposes. She is also working with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs who assist Caribbean countries in times of disasters. 

CWWA was proud to help raise $4,000 for this cause through the silent auction and collection bowl at the national conference in St. John’s. The monies were used to send 3 operators to Dominica where, within a two week period, they reestablished water service to three remote villages and got the wastewater plant up and running.

Can you volunteer some time to go down and help? We are presently developing a data base of operators willing to volunteer their time in the future. You’ll find the experience rewarding. Contact Robert Haller at to get connected.

If not, can you or your corporation or your service club sponsor another operator? You can send the donations to us at CWWA and we’ll ensure it is used for operators.

Your contribution, whether time or money, will make a big difference in the lives of many.


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