Project Location: Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii

Project Date: March, 2017

As part of a humanitarian effort for the UN sanctioned World Water Day (March 22), The Waterbearers with partner Waves For Water,  provided 100 filter systems and sustainability training to those looking for a simple economic solution to keep their drinking water safe (in Hawaii). Filters being donated were part of The Waterbearers fundraising efforts during the past year. With the incredible ongoing need for clean water around the world, we decided to bring it back to US soil this World Water Day.

The Problem

Much of South Hawaii presently does not have access to county water lines. Most people must rely on a catchment system to collect water. There are very few wells in the region, and only dug at great expense through the solid lava. Permanent streams are not found in this area. That leaves catching rain and/or hauling water via trucks or containers the only option.” Note: The state considers the use of catchment water to be a personal responsibility, and it does NOT consider containment water to be potable (drinkable).

Add to that the arrival of the Rat Lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantenosis), a parasite carried from SE Asia to Hawaii by rats as a host, and transferred to slugs and snails, and it is a recipe for disaster. Humans pick up the parasite by ingesting slugs, slug slime, contaminated fruits and vegetables, uncooked food and contaminated water. Cases of eosinophilia meningitis have risen sharply in Hawaii over the past 5 years, and studies show that 75% of slugs collected on the Big Island are infected with the parasite. Learn more

HHP_We visited three communities in the lower Puna district, two of which run a weekly or monthly food bank for both indigenous and mainland transplants who find it difficult to make ends meet. Purchasing bottled water or expensive filter systems with replacement cartridges is beyond their reach. At the Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP) we demonstrated the system to the community’s emergency volunteer group, who are faced with the challenge of providing shelter, food and water in case of any kind of emergency evacuation. Another demonstration was at Uncle Robert’s, a popular outdoor meeting and market place on the edge of the lava flow, frequented by native Hawaiians, who can most benefit from using the filters. And last but not least, the Nanawale Community Association organized by Ronette.

ListenNone of these demonstrations would have been possible without Waterbearer Listen Wingate, who went the extra mile to rally these community leaders.

131 filters were distributed in these communities.


Each $50 donation can provide clean water to 100 people a day, and can last a decade. Waves For Water currently distributes the clean water systems using the Sawyer PointOne Filter, including sustainability training in 40 countries.

  • Share: