Why Clean Water Access Helps Gorillas

Lack of clean water is a major cause of health problems for people who live near the gorillas, and a reason to enter the forest illegally.

One of Bisate's new water tanksWhen people lack clean water they become infected with intestinal parasites, which can then be transmitted to the gorillas when they go in the forest. Also, illegal entry into the forest is often motivated by the desire to fetch clean water from the streams and springs located there. Women may have to spend hours obtaining water for their families. Therefore, providing the communities near the forest with access to clean water helps protect the gorillas while improving the people’s quality of life.

We provide clean water to people

The farmlands outside the boundaries of the park where gorillas in Rwanda live lack adequate clean water sources. However, collecting and storing rainwater can supply the communities year-round. The Fossey Fund has installed new rainwater tanks at the Bisate School, at the Bisate Clinic, and in the town of Bisate, near Volcanoes National Park. Three permanent community water tanks constructed by the Fossey Fund have a total 115m3 capacity.

Building the new community tankIn addition, we monitor these and older systems, replace missing or broken parts, and educate people on maintaining the systems. We have also installed toilets in the same locations and educated the community about keeping the areas near the tanks clean and free from flies.

We have held community meetings in several villages near the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The clean water systems we support serve some 9,500 people in Bisate. We have also held meetings in communities  near the community reserves in the Congo to identify clean water sources, and have helped villagers install piping to tap the sources so they can fill water bottles. These systems serve some 200,000 people in the Congo.

Learn about the all the ways that the Fossey Fund saves gorillas by helping people.

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