This 19-Year-Old Puerto Rican Woman Is Bringing Clean Water to People on Her Island

Read more

National Geographic is teaming up with actress Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) for the docuseries Impact with Gal Gadot where women from around the world who are making an impact on their communities will be highlighted in their own short documentary.

In the documentary The Ripple Effect, the series features Arianna, a 19-year-old woman from San Juan, Puerto Rico, who is leading a team of college students who have invented a water filtration system to give the people of PR drinkable water. Four years after Hurricane Maria, more than 150,000 Puerto Ricans still do not have access to clean water.

“When the world sees Puerto Rico, a lot of people see us as this vacation spot. Sometimes that’s all they think of us,” Arianna says in her episode. “But what they don’t think about is, there’s more than three million people living here in Puerto Rico, having struggles.”

Arianna said that when Hurricane Maria hit, things got much worse. One million people were left without clean water and government officials weren’t moving fast enough to solve the problem.

“I knew there had to be a solution to the water crisis,” Arianna says.

Arianna and her team invented two filtration devices: one that cleans water inside people’s homes and one that “cleans and protects the biodiversity of the rivers, streams and waterways across Puerto Rico.”

During The Ripple Effect, Arianna goes out to speak to the people of Puerto Rico to get an understanding of the things they are experiencing without access to clean water. When one elderly woman tells her she just wants to feel secure that she is cooking with clean water when her grandchildren visit, Arianna tells her about what her and her team are trying to do.

“Our philosophy is that everyone should have access to water and people shouldn’t have to pay for this access,” she says. “And not just water, but clean, high-quality water.”

Arianna adds: “I want them to know that there is someone out there that can help them. I know that we can help them lead a better life. We can not only filter water, but we can heal people.”

The Ripple Effect premieres May 10 on National Geographic’s YouTube channel.