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A rural Virginia family displaced from their home after their water well failed received the gift of clean water Feb. 5, marking the first project of Hometown H2O, a domestic water program aimed at bringing education and access to clean and sustainable water to people and communities in need across the United States.
Hometown H2O is an extension of The Chris Long Foundation's Waterboys initiative and the result of a partnership announced in December 2019 with Xylem Inc., a leading global water technology company dedicated to solving the world's most challenging water issues.
"This family's situation is not an isolated instance of the water challenges facing many lower-income rural communities in the United States," said Chris Long, two-time Super Bowl champion and founder and chairman of the Chris Long Foundation. "Addressing domestic water needs is an important next step in our work at Waterboys, which is why we created Hometown H2O. Having our first project in my home state of Virginia is special to me, but it is just the beginning of our U.S. work with Xylem to impact lives through the gift of water."
The family of six in Suffolk, Virginia, bought the property in 2018 and began experiencing water issues about six months ago when the shallow well pump on the property began pumping sand and water into the house. The property needed a new, deeper well, but it would cost thousands of dollars the family did not have.
Without running water, Social Services would not allow the family to live in the house, so they stayed at a hotel for several months until aid ran out, eventually moving in with family out of state. The family applied for assistance through the nonprofit Water Well Trust, and Hometown H2O, Xylem and its partners quickly mobilized.
Xylem coordinated the donation of the water well equipment from among its network of partners: Noland Supply of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a WinSupply company; and Creason & Sons Well Service Inc. of Zuni, Virginia. The companies began the prep work at the site about a week prior to the well installation.
In addition to the new well, Xylem and its team of volunteers, activated through Watermark, Xylem's acclaimed corporate social responsibility program, are completing a number of interior and exterior home improvement projects on the property, including installing a shower in the bathroom and fixing a warped front porch to help improve the family's overall quality of life.
"Having clean water restored to their home will allow this family to reunite and live safely — it is truly lifechanging," said Joe Vesey, Xylem senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "We have the opportunity of a lifetime to solve our growing domestic water challenges by bringing individuals and organizations together and leveraging their expertise and resources."
Xylem and Waterboys, along with nonprofit partner Water Well Trust, seek to raise awareness about domestic water issues, including that 1.5 million people in the United States lack access to clean, safe drinking water at home. Working in coordination with Watermark and the company's Goulds Water Technology brand, this partnership will deliver a series of water well projects to provide rural communities with reliable, safe water access, which can lead to better overall health and improved quality of life.