Recently Gravity Water's Executive Director and Founder, Danny Wright, along with Northwest Regional Manager of Vietnam, Phuc Tran, and Hòa Bình Province Manager, Dung Phan, hosted a stakeholder engagement tour to multiple Gravity Water project sites in the Mai Châu Valley of Hòa Bình Province.
The tour included members of the Hòa Bình Province Department of Education and Training, UNICEF Vietnam, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (RWSSP) Vietnam, nonprofits and foundations including Christina Noble Children's Foundation and Church World Service, and private sector partners from Tan A Dai Thanh and EMIC technologies. The purpose of the tour was to discuss the challenges of clean water access and water scarcity throughout rural regions of Vietnam and how climate change will exacerbate these challenges for already vulnerable populations.
The tour's first stop: Where the only local source of water without excessive calcium is rain.
In this specific region of Vietnam, most communities have challenges with excessive hard water (lime and calcium), which impacts their infrastructure. Gravity Water showcased how the organization's simple filtration system had diverse applications, partially replacing their traditional activated carbon block filters with calcium filters specifically for these projects. Additionally, the organization highlighted the only local source of water that didn't have excessive calcium: rain. Through these systems, Gravity Water is helping schools reduce calcium impacts by over 50% per year before filtration occurs.
The tour's second stop: Better data monitoring of water tanks that run empty and overflow.
The tour's second stop was at a more rural school in the Valley, which depended on pumping groundwater for the school's water supply as opposed to the first school, which received all of its water from a local utility service. For this specific school, Gravity Water showcased how their technology is helping schools save water and operate more efficiently. Before the Gravity Water system, the school needed to turn multiple valves to control where the water went throughout the campus and only knew the tanks were full when they would overflow. Gravity Water's system fixed this issue by installing the organization's custom pump relay box, which automates water filling through an electronic valve system.
This intervention, along with installing floating valves at all lower elevation tanks, allows the schools to keep all their water tanks full all the time without any effort or waste. Lastly, Gravity Water illustrated how the organization monitors each system, using water flow meters and monthly surveys each school can access on their phone through a QR Code on each system.
A boarding school with the potential for using integrated rainwater technology.
After visiting the two schools Gravity Water was working with, the group visited a local high school, which had yet to receive the intervention. The high school was a boarding school, with hundreds of students spending most of each week on campus. Though the school had access to a utility water supply, the water source wasn't treated, and the school dealt with the same challenges related to hard water and efficient water use. However, the school had three large rooftops spanning hundreds of square meters and a 100,000-liter underground water tank that was rarely filled since the school had to purchase all of the water it used. Gravity Water shared how thousands of schools like the one they visited didn't have integrated rainwater technology and addressed the most important question: why not?
The final discussion surrounded the importance and need for quantifiable data on the benefits of rainwater harvesting, which has primarily prevented governments and development groups with the confidence to invest the required capital in bringing rainwater harvesting to scale throughout the public infrastructure.
Initiative for partnering with governments and corporations in Vietnam.
Gravity Water ended the tour by sharing their plans to address this shortfall in a big way through their recent partnership between government and corporate groups to install their rainwater harvesting and filtration systems at over 130 schools in the Hoa Binh province over the next 12 months, and the research that Santa Clara University will carry out on the economic, social, and environmental benefits of the initiative.
This tour allowed Gravity Water and participants a glimpse into the future, where government, nonprofit, and public stakeholders work together to scale rainwater harvesting in their regions, building a future of climate resilience and water security for at-risk communities in Vietnam.