Dec 10, 2018

Aquadapt - Developing Innovative Solutions to Change the Emergency Relief Paradigm

The adapter can remove many common contanminants
The adapter can remove many common contanminants

When natural disasters happen, water sources are often polluted and water distribution infrastructure systems may not work for long periods of time increasing the health risks to the affected population. Providing safe, healthy water becomes an issue of paramount importance.

After the devastating earthquakes and hurricanes that hit Central and Southern Mexico in 2017 - and after witnessing the extreme inefficiency and cost of shipping bottled water to those emergency zones, Caminos de Agua decided to start a stock a ceramic filters destined for disaster relief, but also evaluate how our technologies could be improved to be more effective in disaster relief situations. We went to work on a new water filter that attaches to nearly any container in minutes and with no training required - which makes it ideal for emergency response where the water available can be treated quickly, on-site, and with locally available materials.

At about the size and weight of a 1-liter bottle of water, our innovative Aguadapt filter concent can produce more than 27,000 liters of drinking water over its lifetime and transition from emergency relief to a permanent water solution for families. When used with Caminos' certified ceramic filter, a refillable cartridge, and a newly-designed universal adapter, Aguadapt removes biological pathogens, organic chemicals, and can even be modified to remove arsenic, fluoride, and other contaminants - all at a price accessible for a family living on less than USD $2 per day.

Aquadapt is completely open-source and meticulously designed to attach to many common household containers (a bucket for example) and standardized plumbing parts - making the possible uses endless and setting it worlds apart from traditional proprietary water filters.

The Caminos de Agua Research and Technological Development Team submitted Aguadapt to 2018's Dyson Award, an international design competition and although we did not win the international competition, Aguadapt was one of the Mexican national finalists. Caminos' work and innovative technologies received national and international media coverage.

Recently, we went into a first production run of 1,000 of these adapters which will be piloted with a partner organization in 600 homes in Southern Mexico in the coming months.

We are on the way to providing effective solutions to provide safe and healthy drinking water when disaster strikes. We are thankful to our donors for joining our efforts to provide more effective disaster relief.

Aguadapt was a Mexican finalist for Dyson Awards
Aguadapt was a Mexican finalist for Dyson Awards
Safe water is scarce when disaster strikes.
Safe water is scarce when disaster strikes.

Links:

Nov 12, 2018

We Made It!

Girl takes rainwater from the school system
Girl takes rainwater from the school system

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

The rains have still been raging here, sporadically, over the last several months, and thanks to the support of the Gonzalo Río Arronte Foundation and all of you GlobalGiving contributors, we are really taking advantage. The families in Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada, where we are undertaking a huge rainwater harvesting project, have accomplished an unbelievable amount of work of the past three months. 

In our last update, we were just breaking ground on the Gonzalo Río Arronte project to build 25 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems in the communities in Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada. However, after more than 10-months of waiting, material costs skyrocketed here in Mexico. Our original budget, submitted in 2017, would only cover the material costs for 20 systems. While the foundation would understand, the fact remained that we made promises to our community partners.

GlobalGiving supporters really stepped up to fill the gap. We brought in well over $7,000 since July, which has been enough to cover the cost of the additional five (5) rainwater harvesting systems in Pozo Hondo. So thank you all so much for helping make this project happen.

Today, the families are putting the final touches on the 25 rainwater storage cisterns. Nearly all of the plumbing, leaf filters, and first flush filters are connected, and we are scheduled to have the inauguration by the end of the month where we will also deliver the first 25 ceramic filters and provide additional educational workshops.

As you may remember, the community well in Pozo Hondo, which also serves La Vaciada and an additional five rural villages, is contaminated with excessive levels of arsenic and fluoride – nearly four times above World Health Organization recommendations. These rainwater harvesting systems, when combined with our certified ceramic filters, will help provide up to 75 families with a lifetime of safe and healthy drinking water.

On a recent trip to the project, one woman summarized talked about the importance of this project: “The problem in my family are the teeth, which are black, brown, and yellow...they say the problem is the water [from excessive fluoride]. I myself have problems in my kidneys, and since that happened, I no longer drink water from the tap, but I do still cook with it. All my food is cooked with contaminated tap water because bottled water is just so expensive. A 20-liter bottle costs us 40 pesos and only lasts a few days. Many studies have been done on our well water which has a lot of fluoride and a lot of arsenic. Until today, rainwater cisterns are the only hope I have for drinking clean water ... and healthy water." 

Thank you again to all of our GlobalGiving supporters for helping us fulfill this promise to the families of Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada. There are still thousands families more who are continuing to drink contaminated water that need these solutions. Consider a donation today to help us keep this work alive and moving. 

Saludos,
Dylan and the Caminos de Agua Team

Caminos staff talks with local families
Caminos staff talks with local families
A finished system
A finished system
Caminos staff works with a local mother
Caminos staff works with a local mother
In front of her new cistern
In front of her new cistern
Gracias Rio Arronte
Gracias Rio Arronte

Links:

Aug 13, 2018

Taking Advantage of the Rains!

Celebrating after the first week-long training
Celebrating after the first week-long training

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

It has been a furious start to the rainy season this year, with the biggest storms hitting our watershed in more than a decade. Thanks to supporters like you, along with new institutional partners, a lot of that rain is being transformed into safe, healthy drinking water. 

Since our last update, we have been able to bring in over $7,000 in new funds through the GlobalGiving platform thanks in great part to new donors. This new infusion of funds will go a long way in our new large-scale community project. 


Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada

On our last update, we broke the news that after 10 months of waiting, we were officially awarded a substantial grant with the Gonzalo Río Arronte Foundation (Fundación Gonzalo Río Arronte), a private foundation here in Mexico that funds water projects throughout the country. That project is now well underway! We have been working with two communities, Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada, to implement 25 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems. We built our first rainwater harvesting system at the community church in 2017 to help form the initial interest. Today, we are finally building on that early momentum. 

The community well located in Pozo Hondo serves La Vaciada and a total of six rural villages in the surrounding area. The arsenic and fluoride levels are some of the highest we have ever registered, and it appears that has been the case ever since the well was first drilled over 30 years ago. 

“We used to drink from open-air ‘charcos’ (ponds). When they drilled the well, the water looked so much cleaner…we never thought it was secretly poisoning us,” said one woman from La Vaciada, participating in the project, and who is now a leader with United Communities for Life and Water - a grassroots, community-led initiative in the most impacted region of our aquifer. 

“Today, anyone under about 28 years-old has their teeth very badly stained [with dental fluorosis from drinking the contaminated water]. My son has it extremely bad. We didn’t know it was the water. That’s why we need these [rainwater] cisterns…to save future generations from that fate,” said a mother from Pozo Hondo, also participating in the project. 

In fact, in May and June, the National Public Health Institute began a study in the region where Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada are located. In a neighboring community, the study found that a staggering 82% of all the children surveyed already presented with mild-severe dental fluorosis. This is the first study of its kind in the region, and we are working on proposals in partnership with the National Public Health Institute to expand this work moving forward. 

Today, the work in Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada is off to an ambitious start. After we received the good news from the Gonzalo Río Arronte Foundation, we immediately began working with the communities to support in the organizing process. Last month, we finally broke ground for the first time in the community of La Vaciada. The Caminos de Agua team taught a 7-day intensive training in one of the community member’s homes. More than 30 people came out to participate in the capacity training, where the members learned about (or received a “refresher" on) regional water issues, rainwater systems, broke bread, and built their first 12,000-liter capacity ferro-cement cistern together.

Since then, the communities formed three work groups: two in Pozo Hondo where 16 systems will be built and one in La Vaciada where nine systems will be constructed. Long-time partners, Engineers Without Borders UK came out just a couple of weeks ago to see this project and talk to community members. To date, between the three working groups, five rainwater systems are already nearing completion. Just in time for the next round of rain storms that have been hitting the region hard. 

Over the next several months, along with building the rainwater systems and installing Ceramic Filters, we will hold a series of training workshops and community dialogues, test all of the community water sources (testing the deep community well, shallow wells, seasonal and household ponds, etc), and create a map of community water resources.

The funds provided by the Gonzalo Rio Arronte Foundation will only cover the materials for the first 20 systems. But thanks to the generosity of GlobalGiving supporters the past couple of months, we will easily be able to provide the additional five systems so that all of the current participating families will have access to safe, healthy drinking water before the rainy season comes to an end! So thank you all for your support!

These initial 25 rainwater harvesting systems in Pozo Hondo and La Vaciada will serve up to 75 families, or about 375 people. There are hundreds more families in these communities who still need access. Many are coming on board to participate in this current project and getting trained. The community capacity is growing and the momentum is massive. So, donations go so much further today - investing in communities where people are trained and eager to work. 

Thank you. 

 

Saludos,
Dylan & The Caminos de Agua Team

Building the first system in La Vaciada
Building the first system in La Vaciada
Setting the first cistern during the training
Setting the first cistern during the training
Prepping sand in Pozo Hondo
Prepping sand in Pozo Hondo
Ready to work in La Vaciada
Ready to work in La Vaciada
Working on the 3rd cistern in Pozo Hondo
Working on the 3rd cistern in Pozo Hondo
Understanding the state of our aquifer
Understanding the state of our aquifer
Our new Ceramic Filter. All waters. All people
Our new Ceramic Filter. All waters. All people
Baseline Study: National Public Health Institute
Baseline Study: National Public Health Institute

Links:

 
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