Of the thousands of rural communities distributed widely throughout the Amazon basin, many of them simply lack access to safe drinking and household water. Many rely on the river itself for their drinking water and for bathing and other domestic chores.
Some use substandard filtration devices or even boil water attempting to have suitable water for human consumption. Some communities have shallow well installations for their domestic water needs. Unfortunately, many of these shallow well systems are contaminated, the same as the river waters.
The subterranean water table in the region is generally quite close to the surface. Access to near surface ground water is common in the region including via cisterns, primitive boreholes and rope and bucket shallow-well installations. The problem is that in many of the communities the ground water near the surface is NOT suitable for human consumption.
One problem that some shallow wells in these communities suffer is contamination from nearby septic systems. The wells and septic systems have been installed in too close of proximity to each other and also at similar depths. Contaminated river water and human waist disposal contribute to problems inherent in shallow well installations near the river banks of the Amazon in many communities as well.
Even though there is more surface water in this region than anywhere on earth, many of the people living here suffer from lack of safe potable water. The abundance of water in the Amazon basin does not solve the problem.
In various locations surface water and near surface ground water is contaminated by bacteria and parasites that transmit infectious diseases. In certain sections the river also has chemical contaminates mainly from pesticides and in other spots it carries other organic intrusive substances.
In certain sections of the region, diarrhea and vomiting are common and also worms and other parasites including intestinal polyparasitism. Hepatitis, salmonella and dermatoses are some of the waterborne diseases spread in parts of the Amazon River and in some of the near surface ground water.
In Drops of Amazon’s home state of Pará there are approximately 500 riverine communities with approximately 32,000 low-income families along the Amazon River, many whom suffer from lack of potable water.