Access to clean water is vital to the health of any community. SurfAid has been working in Nias since 2006 to restore and improve water supply systems by repairing wells damaged in the 2005 earthquake and installing new tanks, public tap stands, rainwater harvesting systems and piping. Since 2009 SurfAid has also been implementing a Clean Water Program in the Mentawai with similar objectives. 

To reduce child mortality through the improvement of access to water and healthier sanitation practices.

+ To facilitate the improvement of access to water.
+ Communities lead and participate in processes to eradicate open defecation in their villages.
+ Empowerment of communities and village structure for sustainable and healthy management of water supplies.


The 8.7 Richter scale Nias earthquake in March 2005 seriously affected the water supply throughout the island, directly damaging many wells, reducing spring water availability and lowering the water table due to reef uplift.

Meanwhile, the SurfAid Community Based Health Program was being implemented in Nias and one of the components of that program focuses on the direct relationship between community health, hygiene, local sanitation facilities and the availability of a clean water supply. From this, the Watsan program was born and the initial phase was funded by UNICEF and NZAID, with some additional money from SurfAid.

In mid-2008, SurfAid completed 99 Watsan facilities in 26 villages in Sirombu and Teluk Dalam sub-districts, including new water tanks, tapped spring water systems, new and reconditioned wells, rainwater harvesting systems and two types of latrines.  SurfAid is using the Community-led Total Sanitation approach, a proven model for encouraging communities to take responsibility for their own hygiene practices.

In 2009 and 2010, SurfAid continued this work, servicing another eight villages in Afulu and Alasa (with a combined population of more than 10,000). This work was financed by the Omidyar Fund.

Meanwhile in the Mentawai in January 2010, SurfAid launched a Clean Water Project. So far this has seen the installation of four major new facilities on two separate Mentawai islands. There is funding support to continue this work, but it has been suspended since the Mentawai tsunami in October 2010 to allow the engineer and staff to focus on building temporary shelter for displaced Mentawai communities.


SurfAid is a non-profit humanitarian organisation whose aim
is to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people
living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.
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