Water Stations

Dehydration and exposure are the cause of most deaths of migrants during border crossings.

That’s why our organization has operated a network of water stations in various parts of the Sonoran Desert since 2000.

Our water stations consist of one or more 55-gallon blue industrial-strength plastic barrels fitted with spigots. We place these drums on stands to keep them off the desert floor and fill them with water, which we replenish whenever that’s necessary. We visually examine the water, test it for particulates, and taste the water on each run. If the water tastes bad, or we see algae floating on the surface (a potential issue in the hot desert environment), we replace the barrel and fill it with clean, fresh water.

Each water truck has a much larger plastic barrel mounted on it that holds 300 gallons of water. That’s a lot of weight, and the sloshing back and forth of the water sometimes affects the handling of the trucks. Humane Borders drivers are trained by our Operations Manager to deal safely with this issue.

We mark our water stations with blue flags mounted on 30-foot poles to make them visible to migrants in the vicinity.

We also fill water containers used by Grupos Beta, a Mexican state agency with a headquarters on the other side of the border in Sasabe. Grupos Beta’s mission is to search for and assist migrants in distress who are still on the Mexican side, using pickup trucks equipped with the same type of barrel that we use in our water stations. We are the primary source of potable water for this important humanitarian effort, and so we send water trucks to Sasabe at least once and usually twice a week to support Grupos Beta. We also provide the organization with blankets and clothing when available for distribution to the migrants whom they encounter.