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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
HydroBasin Level:
Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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City & Country

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $720,295,850.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $188,420,055.00 - [26%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $134,828,320.00 - [19%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $49,782,385.00 - [7%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $83,454,817.00 - [12%]
  • Water Scarcity: $143,760,964.00 - [20%]
  • Water Management: $120,049,308.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES A detailed survey carried out by the UN Technical Cooperation for Development Department in 1991 assessed the water resources of Haiti. In that study, the country was divided into six major basins. Haiti has 12.11km3 of internal renewable water resources plus 0.9km3 of external renewable water resources that come from the Artibonite River from the Dominican Republic. Currently, only about 7.5 per cent of the renewable water resources are utilized, of which 7.1 per cent is for irrigation. The rivers' water flow is characterized by wide seasonal fluctuation, partly because of rainfall irregularity, but also because of erosion and catchment area deforestation. In 1991, the total installed hydroelectric capacity was 70MW. The production from hydroplants was 280GWh/year, and hydropower amounts for 50 per cent of total electricity production. According to the Ministère de L’Environnement (ME) [2006], the water resources of the country are quite important but are poorly distributed as five rivers account for almost 60 per cent of the country's resources [MDE, 1999a]. Rainfall has a negative impact on these water resources, due to soil erosion. After rains, the rivers fill up quickly with water of a low quality - carrying soil and sediments. Water from unprotected sources is contaminated not only by soil erosion but also from contact with runoff, and becomes unusable in a potable water supply system. Drinking water is thus becoming scarce and the availability of this basic service is reducing. Although Haiti has the highest available average water figure in the world (approximately 24,400m³ per person), water access in the country is not only the lowest among its Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) neighbours but is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere [World Bank, 2007]. Data concerning the exact circumstances of Haiti’s water and sanitation differ according to the source but all of them produce similar distressing results [McLeod, 2009]. With an average annual rainfall of 1,400mm, Haiti should have an adequate supply of water to meet its demands [USACE, 1999]. However, with no public system for sewage, few poorly managed wastewater treatment facilities and a scarcity of essential hydrologic data, it is evident why Haiti is incapable of providing water that is both clean and constant to its people [McLeod, 2009]. The long term average available freshwater resources of Haiti are 14,000 million m³ (14km³) per year as of 2005 [United Nations Statistics Division] but according to the CIA World Fact book, only 0.99km³ is withdrawn per year which means that only approximately seven per cent of available water is used. Of this 7 per cent withdrawn, only 5 per cent is used for domestic purposes; 1 per cent for industrial uses; and the remaining 94 per cent is used for irrigation [McLeod, 2009]. Furthermore, water in Haiti is usually either contaminated or saline. Surface water and groundwater from shallow aquifers are polluted with human excreta and agricultural waste. 60 per cent of Haitians consume water without attempting to treat it while 30 per cent add bleach or chlorine, and 2 per cent attempt to boil the water which facilitates the prevalence of waterborne illnesses and high mortality rates [McLeod, 2009]. As islanders flee rural areas in hope of a better life, rapid urbanization continues to negatively affect the water supply in Haiti - particularly in the capital of PortauPrince - as result of high population density creating an additional strain on water demands [USACE, 1999]. Haiti’s natural climate is subject to an uneven distribution of rainfall due the orientation of a mountain ridge, which is the natural divisor of Hispaniola. The mountains cut off the trade winds, which produce rainfall [CIA]. The report, updated in 1999, also lists the existence of 30 hydrographic basins and zones which drain from the mountains to the coastal waters [McLeod, 2009]. There are more than 100 streams from the Haitian mountains flowing into the Golfe de la Gonâve, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea but none toward the Dominican Republic. While streamflow within the highlands is rapid, the streams of the lowlands are quite slow. The average annual precipitation in lowland areas is usually less than 1,200mm ( 42 inches) and can be as little as 550mm (22 inches) [McLeod, 2009]. Often described as a semiarid country [CIA], Haiti is subject to high rates of evaporation, preventing many streams from ever reaching the sea, and often undergoes periodic droughts. The Plaine du Gonaïves and the eastern part of the Plaine du CuldeSac are the driest areas in the country [USACE, 1999]. The Plaine du Gonaïves averages 550mm (22 inches) of precipitation annually, and the eastern part of the Plaine du CuldeSac averages 850mm (33 inches) [McLeod, 2009]. With an unfortunate location in the middle of a hurricane belt, Haiti is often subject to hurricanes and severe storms during the hurricane season from June to October [CIA]. Hurricanes and storms further complicate Haiti’s water supply because of subsequent intense flooding. While flooding can occur at any time during the year, flash flooding, (which is rapid flooding of lowlying areas, washes, rivers and streams caused by heavy rain associated with thunderstorms, hurricanes, or tropical storms, occurs only during the wet season of April to November [USACE, 1999]. Lack of vegetation on surrounding hillsides and an absence of sufficient storm water drainage systems produces serious flooding, which has detrimental effects as most major Haitian cities are coastal [USACE, 1999]. Flood water, usually rainwater mixed with biological waste and trash, often invades cramped homes of poor construction and causes property damage, increases Haitians’ susceptibility to waterborne diseases, and destroys livestock as well as human lives [McLeod, 2009]. Country Overview - Haiti In November 1994, the tropical storm Gordon killed 800 Haitians; September 1998 brought Hurricane George that left 18,000 people homeless; and the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 was 3,000 deaths and houses floating down the streets [USACE, 1999]. According to USAID, just a few days after Jeanne, “open sewage, stagnant water and the decaying bodies of animals and flood victims had seriously contaminated local water supplies, causing a public health crisis.” [McLeod, 2009]


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Organizations in Haiti

As participants in God's mission of restoring humanity to wholeness, we work to end the human suffering caused the global water crisis. We apply our engineering expertise, international development experience, and faith to help the world's most vulnerable communities establish, … Learn More

Increasing access to safe water and sanitation by connecting and mobilizing volunteer plumbers and plumbing industry leaders and resources to projects and organizations dedicated to safe water and sanitation. Learn More

WaterAid is an international NGO focused exclusively on ensuring equitable access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education for the world’s poorest communities. Formed in 1981, we have been working in water, sanitation and hygiene for over 30 years. To … Learn More

WaterStep responds to critical needs for safe water by evaluating and implementing solutions and teaching people to use those tools. WaterStep saves lives with safe water by empowering communities to take care of their own long-term water needs. We believe … Learn More

Projects in Haiti


Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

We are participating in the Race to the Top partnership in Vietnam between other apparel brands, ILO/Better Work and the Vietnamese, Danish and Dutch governments. Race to The Top aims to build a sustainable garment industry in Vietnam through a … Learn More

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