Xylem partners with Hometown H2O to restore water to family in need


Although efforts to provide safe water resources are largely focused on developing countries, the reality is that 1.5 million people in the United States living in low-income, rural and tribal communities do not have access to affordable, safe water.

High-quality drinking water often alludes residents in these remote areas, where hooking into the municipal water supply can be difficult and cost-prohibitive. With the help of the Water Supply Costs Savings Act signed into law in 2016, nonprofit efforts like Xylem Watermark and Hometown H2O are increasing the use of cost-effective alternatives such as water well systems.

In February 2020, Xylem embarked on its first joint project with Hometown H2O, part of The Chris Long Foundation’s Waterboys initiative, to help a family of six in Suffolk, Virginia, who were displaced from their home after their water well failed.

“This family didn’t have access to water,” said Susan O’Grady, Xylem director of marketing, Residential and Agriculture. “They had to use a bucket from outside to collect rainwater to flush their toilet. They couldn’t live in their home.”

Moving into their single-family home in Suffolk in August 2018 marked a new beginning for Wayne and Belinda Crawford and their four children. Less than a year later the family began experiencing water issues 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, Belinda, pregnant with her fifth child, and the four children moved in with extended family out of state.

The Crawford family applied for assistance through the Water Well Trust (WWT), a nonprofit arm of the Water Systems Council established to provide wells for Americans who do not have a safe drinking water supply. After WWT identified the Crawfords as a family in need, Xylem, Hometown H2O and other partners quickly mobilized.

Xylem coordinated the donation of the water well equipment from among its nationwide network of distributors and installers, Noland Supply – a Winsupply Company of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Creason Well Service, Inc. of Zuni, Virginia. The companies began the prep work at the site for the well installation, which was completed February 5th. The new 580-foot well was outfitted with a Goulds Water Technology 10GPM 1 HP submersible pump and a 40-gallon tank.

Working with Xylem’s corporate social responsibility program, Watermark, and activated by the company’s Goulds Water Technology brand, the Xylem/Hometown H2O partnership ultimately delivered a new water well, providing reliable, safe water access for the Crawford family.

“Water is a very basic need so you feel that you have to help any time you can,” said David Creason, owner of Creason Well Service, Inc. “I think this is going to bring awareness to the fact that there is a need.”

In addition to the new well, a team of 17 volunteers completed 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 our first project in my home state of Virginia was special to me, but it’s just the beginning of our work with Xylem in the U.S.”
— Chris Long

“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. “This positive outcome is what can happen when individuals and organizations leverage their expertise and resources to solve our growing domestic water challenges.”

Seeking to make a difference domestically, The Chris Long Foundation’s Waterboys initiative launched Hometown H2O in December 2019 to focus on water issues that affect primarily rural, impoverished communities. Since 2015, Waterboys has provided clean drinking water to more than 330,000 people in East Africa.

“The Crawford 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. “Having our first project in my home state of Virginia was special to me, but it’s just the beginning of our work with Xylem in the U.S.”

Following the installation of the water well and home improvement projects, Belinda Crawford expressed her family’s gratitude.

“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.”

For more information about the partnership between Xylem Inc. and The Chris Long Foundation’s Waterboys initiative, please visit Goulds.com/Waterboys.