Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality, Illness, Public Notification
June 04 2018

Helping the Community Find Clean Water after Hurricane Maria

by Mara Dias

In the days and weeks following Hurricane Maria, the Surfrider Foundation Rincón Chapter’s Blue Water Task Force rallied to restart their water testing program in post-storm conditions to provide critical public health and water safety information for local communities.

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last fall, it knocked out the entire electrical grid and much of the island’s infrastructure, including roads, hospitals, water supply and telecommunications networks. Over eight months later, there are still nearly 12,000 homes and businesses without power, and recent news stories have highlighted the many lives lost and the ongoing humanitarian challenges in this region. 

Although chapter volunteers were experiencing the same difficult post-storm conditions as the rest of the island, they were able to restart their water quality monitoring program by teaming up with other relief and health organizations.  

Watch this short film to hear our Surfrider volunteers in Rincón describe what life was like after Hurricane Maria passed Puerto Rico and how they used their Blue Water Task Force program to empower local communities to protect their own health as government agencies struggled to meet the population’s most basic needs.

Learn more about Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force volunteer-run water testing program here

See where the Rincón Chapter is testing and view their BWTF results here. Keep track of their freshwater testing program and local events on the Rincón Chapter’s Facebook page

If you are located in or visiting Puerto Rico, contact the chapter to get involved and help out through their website

Special thanks to filmmaker Sachi Cunningham for producing this film, and Caroline and Isabel Bercaw of Da Bomb Bath Fizzers for their generous support of the Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force in Puerto Rico.