In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, four, two-man teams of engineers, technicians and operators from Charleston Commissioners of Public Works (CPW) will travel to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on behalf of Water Missions International (WMI) to assess damage to water supplies. The teams will spend seven days in rural areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina.
Over forty CPW associates volunteered to go on this reconnaissance mission. The 'recon teams' are prepared to be self sufficient for the duration of the trip, carrying sleeping bags, food, and water. They will be based out of relief centers and will be traveling into the rural areas throughout the day to perform water quality testing and to gather data on the status of the water and sanitation systems.
Since Katrina struck, WMI has sent twelve Living Water™ Treatment Systems (LWTS™) and three LWTS™/Reverse Osmosis Units (ROUs) to Mississippi and Louisiana. Four LWTS™ have been set up on the Mississippi coast, and the two LWTS™/ROUs have been set up in New Orleans and are purifying water from Lake Pontchartrain for relief workers in the area.
"We have many more water purification systems available but little information on where they can be used most effectively," said WMI President and co-founder Molly Greene. "We know that at least half a million people in Mississippi are living in counties with compromised water supplies. WMI can provide safe water to thousands of these people, and the CPW teams will give us the information that will allow us to provide clean water to as many people as possible. We're very grateful for CPW's partnership in this effort."
In addition to assessing damage, the CPW teams will provide technical assistance when appropriate.
"It's imperative to get water utilities back up and running quickly," said John Cook, general manager of CPW. "As a company in Charleston whose business it is to supply safe water, we know first-hand from Hurricane Hugo the devastating effects of a storm like Katrina on water supplies. We felt that we could be most helpful in getting safe water to the hardest-hit communities by partnering with Water Missions International."
In the past, CPW has helped to raise funds for WMI's work in the tsunami-affected countries and in Iraq.