International Missionary Fellowship - The Cistern Project

Water. We take it largely for granted. What is water worth? I remember when bottled water became readily available to purchase in the cooler at convenience stores. My dad, a stewardship advocate in the extreme, was appalled that anyone would pay a dollar for something that flowed from the tap for free. That was a while back. Now by some estimates Americans spend $16 billion per year on the stuff.

Here's something to ponder. Though we have the luxury of turning on the tap or buying bottles, the island nation of Haiti has no such luxury. In the area where we minister, folks walk miles every day just to get a few gallons of water , with the heaviest lifting being uphill. Water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, watering crops, it is miles away from much of the population of Northwest Haiti. Jesus is clear that He expects us to care for and meet the needs of the poor.

In 2001 we started building rainwater cisterns. These cisterns change the lives of the folks getting one. They are a concrete box 8' X 8' X4' with 6" thick walls and base that collect and store rainwater from the roof of the recipient family's house. The recipient family has to supply a lot of the materials that are inexpensive but pretty labor intensive including: sand, gravel, and water for mixing concrete and laborers for the duration of the project (usually parts of 3 days). We supply all the more costly items: cement, rebar, guttering, plumbing as well as a trained crew and the forms necessary for construction.

It is great to see a family invest themselves in the construction of their cistern. The cost to build a cistern of this type currently costs $600 US. That's not much more than the cost of a bottle of water a day for a year. By God's grace we have been able to build over 300 cisterns to date.

Please take some time to look at the photos and if you feel led, we encourage you to get involved. We appreciate your prayers for this project. Should you decide to become involved financially, we promise that every dollar you send us will be spent as you direct.

Questions? Contact Dan Beardsley (Choose "Cistern Project" from the dropdown menu.)

A Cistern Changes
a Family's Life

Sisters playing in the
overflow after a rain

  • A cistern holds approximately 1400 gallons of water.
  • It takes 4 inches of rain on average to fill a cistern.
  • Based on a conservative estimate of a 12-inch annual rainfall, a cistern will make 4200 gallons of water available.
  • That is 4200 gallons that don't have to be carried by the bucket or jug.

Cistern Project News

How many cistern have been built? What does life look like without a cistern? How are people's lives being impacted? Read stories and see photos of recent Cistern Project events.

Cistern Project Ministry Needs

Status: Always someone in need of a cistern
$650 / cistern
More details