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News Release: Water Well Trust Partnerships Fulfill Water Well Wishes for Virginia & Illinois Family

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February 13, 2020
DAVIDSON, N.C. -- February 11, 2020 -- A Suffolk, Virginia, family of seven and a Crete, Illinois, family of six are now enjoying a clean supply of running water in their homes thanks to the Water Well Trust and its partnerships with The Chris Long Foundation and the Groundwater Foundation.

The Crawford family of Suffolk, VA, received a new water well thanks to the Hometown H2O program, an extension of The Chris Long Foundation's Waterboys initiative, in partnership with the Water Well Trust and Xylem Inc.

The Steger Estates (IL) Fire Department had been filling the Saleh family's temporary water holding tanks for almost a year before the family received a new water well from the Water Well Trust and the Groundwater Foundation. L to R: Marvet Saleh, Khaleel Saleh, SEFD engineer Bill Wheeler, and SEFD firefighter/paramedic Chris Ramirez.

The Virginia project is the first for the Hometown H2O program, an extension of The Chris Long Foundation's Waterboys initiative and the result of a partnership with the Water Well Trust and Xylem Inc. announced in late 2019.  Working with the Water Well Trust, Hometown H2O funds the drilling of water wells for low-income households that do not have access to water at home or within a reasonable distance. 

The Crawford family has four children and one on the way.  They were displaced from their home after their water well failed and they could not afford to drill a new, deeper well. The family asked the Water Well Trust for assistance, and along with Hometown H2O, Xylem and its partners -- Noland Supply of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a Winsupply Company, and Creason & Sons Well Service, Inc. of Zuni, Virginia -- the new water well was completed within a week.

"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 the Water Well Trust and Xylem to impact lives through the gift of water."
Belinda Crawford, who is expecting the birth of a baby boy in March, expressed her family's gratitude, saying, "These volunteers changed our way of believing. They even changed our expectations of people. They gave us a lot. They'll always have a place in our hearts."

The Illinois project kicked off the Water Well Trust's partnership with the Groundwater Foundation, which donated $100,000 to the Trust in 2019 to drill water wells for low-income families across the U.S.  The Groundwater Foundation, which focuses on local groundwater education and action, merged with the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) in 2018.

On July 4, 2019, the Saleh family's water stopped flowing due to a broken casing which caused their water well system to be filled with sand. Unable to afford the up-front cost of a new water well, they were forced into costly short-term solutions to provide the family with water.  However, with winter approaching, their short-term solutions would be unworkable.

The Groundwater Foundation, working with the Water Well Trust, assisted the family throughout the entirety of the project, from soliciting bids from well drillers to the final installation of the system.
"I'm so thankful for the partnership between the Groundwater Foundation and Water Well Trust because there is nowhere else I could get a loan for a new well, especially not one I can afford for me and my family," said Marvet Saleh.

Currently, there are 1.5 million Americans lacking complete plumbing and access to clean, safe, affordable drinking water. The Water Well Trust pays for the initial cost of drilling a well and participating families are given a 20-year, 1% interest loan.

"These partnerships provide invaluable new resources for meeting the needs of Americans without access to clean, safe water," said Water Well Trust program director Margaret Martens. "For them, every day without water is a struggle. Partnerships with Hometown H2O and the Groundwater Foundation are helping us fulfill the promise of a better life for these American families much more quickly."

The Water Well Trust maintains a wait list of American households requesting funding for the drilling of new wells or rehabilitation of non-functioning wells in high-need, low-resource rural areas. Prospective applicants can download the application form and instruction letter from the Water Well Trust website. 
For more information, visit waterwelltrust.org.

About Water Well Trust
The Water Well Trust (WWT) is a 501(c)3 organization created by the Water Systems Council to provide a clean water supply to American families living without access to a precious resource most of us take for granted. The WWT and its partners build wells for low-income families nationwide that need safe drinking water.  To learn more, visit waterwelltrust.org.

About Waterboys
Founded in 2015 by two-time Super Bowl Champion Chris Long, Waterboys unites professional NFL and NBA athletes and fans from across the world in support of a single, shared cause: providing clean, accessible drinking water to 1 million people. By working together, players and fans can make a meaningful difference for communities in desperate need by funding sustainable clean water projects. These projects provide life-giving water and all that comes from it – including the opportunities for education, good health, and economic stability. Initially starting with projects in East Africa, Waterboys expanded its work in 2019 to also include U.S water projects. To date, Waterboys has raised over $4.5 million with the help of over 45 professional athletes, providing clean drinking water to more than 365,000 people as a result. To find out more, visit waterboys.org

About The Chris Long Foundation
The mission of The Chris Long Foundation is to support bright futures for communities and the individuals that make up those communities. We believe borders do not limit caring about our fellow neighbors. We engage in both international and domestic programs focused around clean water, military appreciation, and educational equity. Our programs strive to generate impactful results by creating opportunities and providing resources, financial support and meaningful experiences to those we serve. Visit www.chrislongfoundation.org to find out more about the foundation's work.

About Xylem Inc.
Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to developing innovative technology solutions to the world's water challenges. The Company's products and services move, treat, analyze, monitor and return water to the environment in public utility, industrial, residential and commercial building services settings. Xylem also provides a leading portfolio of smart metering, network technologies and advanced infrastructure analytics solutions for water, electric and gas utilities. The Company's approximately 17,000 employees bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on identifying comprehensive, sustainable solutions. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New York, with 2018 revenue of $5.2 billion, Xylem does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands. For more information, visit www.xylem.com.

About Groundwater Foundation
The Groundwater Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Lincoln, Nebraska with a mission to connect people, businesses, and communities through local groundwater education and action, making us all part of the solution for clean, sustainable groundwater. Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has offered various education and action opportunities for youth and adults. To learn more, visit http://www.groundwater.org.

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Contact:
Margaret Martens, Program Director
mmartens@watersystemscouncil.org, 202-625-4383