Solar Water Pump Installation in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti

Released: November 8, 2011

Written by: Jim Schwobel,


The country of Haiti has for years been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. With aid from countries all over the world, it had been slowly raising its standard of living for the 9 million inhabitants but in January of 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the capital Port-a-Prince and surrounding cities. The economic impact reached all corners of Haiti, including the town of Anse-a-Pitre, located in the southeast corner of Haiti - on the border with the Dominican Republic.


Anse-a-Pitre has always been in search of clean water. Several years ago, the Spanish government built a water well in Anse-a-Pitre that used a diesel generator to power an electric water pump. That system produced water sporadically because of the lack of municipal funds for fuel for the generator. After the 2010 earthquake, there was no fuel available at all in that part of Haiti and the Dominican Republic did not allow exporting fuel – even for the water-well, less than 1/2 mile from the border between the two countries. The only way the people could get fuel was to smuggle it across the border, which is the flood-prone river Rio Pedernales. 


Without access to clean well water, the people had to use water from an open concrete irrigation ditch that was fed from the Rio Pedernales and passed through the village. The irrigation ditch was designed to carry water to fields in the area. The water was not suitable for drinking because it was also used for waste disposal. Livestock also drank from it and the water remained constantly polluted with a variety of diseases, including E. coli bacteria. In Haiti, water-borne illnesses are responsible for 30% of the children dying before the age of 12.


Enter Hispaniola Mountain Ministries, headed by Reverend Tim Dortch from Jackson Mississippi. Tim’s organization has been operating in that region for several years, bringing in volunteer medical and dental teams from the United States and providing them with a modern portable hospital. Tim is a busy man who also has a robust missionary program that brings in teams of college students and other volunteers from the United States to build small, utilitarian single-family homes for the most needy in the community.


Tim researched alternatives that could provide clean water to all residents in the area and recognized the benefits of using solar powered pumps. Through the Internet, he found Ronnie Sauer, owner and operator of Southwest Texas Solar in Eldorado, Texas. Ronnie was able to design a solar water pump system that would produce 16,000 gallons per day – exceeding the daily requirements of the village.


Ronnie provided, at cost, the necessary components (12 solar panels and 2 pumps) and had them flown to Anse-a-Pitre via Missionary Flights International of Ft. Pierce, Florida. In November, 2011, Tim, Ronnie and a small team of engineers, including Frank Manzo from Mississippi and Jim Schwobel from Texas, went to Anse-a-Pitre and installed the solar water pump system.


The project included installing the 12 solar panels on top of the existing water tank and replacing the old pump with two solar pumps, side-by-side, in the 140 ft. well. The old diesel generator was incorporated into the system and serves as a backup source of electricity in the event of the rare occurrence of prolonged cloudy weather. Additional water stations were also added to the existing system of 23 faucets that are connected to the water tank and located at distribution points throughout the village.


The people of Anse-a-Pitre now have a dependable source for the basic necessity of life - clean water. With the help of Tim Dortch and Hispaniola Mountain Ministries, they can hope for a healthier and prosperous future.



Hispaniola Mountain Ministries –

Missionary Flights International –



Southwest Texas Solar - Project in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti