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Feb 21, 2017

1 Million Liters of Safe & Healthy Drinking Water in 2017!

Cistern inauguration in Arenal
Cistern inauguration in Arenal

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters,

During our last update in late November 2016, we were just finishing a capacity training in a small rural community where we built a 12,000-liter rainwater harvesting system over the course of a week with local community members.  From that point, we continued building additional systems in the communities of Arenal, La Escoba, and Llano Verde.  By early December, all six 12,000-liter systems were finished – providing healthy and safe drinking water to dozens of families in the region.  Additionally, 30 filter systems were installed in the participating family members’ homes, allowing easy access to safe drinking water for more than 150 people!

The communities celebrated their achievement with an inauguration ceremony and party on December 16th (pictures provided).

In the end, we closed out 2016 by constructing 43 rainwater harvesting systems – representing more than 500,000-liters of safe water storage.  When combined with the more than 130 ceramic water filter systems provided in these projects, families in communities throughout the region have the ability to enjoy nearly 5.7 million liters of safe drinking water over the next 5 years before needing to change out their filters.   Much of this was made possible by GlobalGiving supporters like you!

We ended 2016 with a major push on GlobalGiving, and thanks to your support as well as a very generous match by the Gates Foundation, we were able to bring in nearly USD $8,000 to continue this work!  So, we hit the ground running in 2017.  Working closely with the United Communities for Life and Water Coalition, we began returning to the communities of San Antonio de Lourdes, Arenal, La Escoba, and Llano Verde in late January.  All of these communities suffer from some of the most severe water contamination and scarcity issues in the entire region and desperately need more access to safe and healthy water supplies.

We are currently working with these four communities to build 21 new rainwater harvesting systems, providing more than 250,000-liters of healthy water storage!  That is nearly half of the systems we were able to build in all of 2016! Additionally, we are beginning new rainwater projects with organizations like El Maíz Más Pequeño, where we will begin building a large-scale system with women at a local high school.

So, look out for one of our biggest updates in May! 

In the meantime, you can keep up with our work by reviewing our project map here.

We would like to sincerely thank Wageningen University who provided the funding for our end-of-2016 rainwater projects mentioned above.  Please have a look at this documentary made by the university regarding water issues in the region we work.

As always, many thanks to all of you here on GlobalGiving.  Your contributions at the end of 2016 are going to help us make our biggest impact yet in 2017!  Please consider supporting this project so we can continue to expand our work in creating a lasting impact on safe and healthy water supplies for communities that really need it.  

We are aiming to create 1 million liters of healthy water storage through our rainwater harvesting projects this year, doubling the impact we made in 2016!  We’ve still got a long way to go.  Please help us make this reality.

Saludos,
Dylan Terrell

Blessing with rainwater
Blessing with rainwater
Forming a cistern in Llano Verde
Forming a cistern in Llano Verde
Community organizer demonstrates exercise
Community organizer demonstrates exercise
Finished cistern in La Escoba
Finished cistern in La Escoba
Distributing ceramic filter systems
Distributing ceramic filter systems

Links:

Nov 23, 2016

Squeezing the Last Drops out of the Rainy Season!

Woman in Llano Verde receives her filter system
Woman in Llano Verde receives her filter system

Dear Global Giving Supporters,

As the rainy season winds down here in Central Mexico, the Caminos de Agua team and local communities are rushing to get the last few systems up in the hopes of taking advantage of the few rains that remain.  In our last report, we illustrated the impact of an Engineers Without Borders group from University College of London (UCL) who helped a local community build 10 full scale systems and provide dozens of ceramic water filters for participating families.  Over the last couple of months, we have expanded our partnerships to continue increasing our impact!

Thanks to our new partners at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, we have been able to provide two large capacity trainings and build seven (7) new rainwater systems in four local communities.  Additionally, another partner – Mission for Life – is helping expand the impact of those rainwater systems by sponsoring filter systems for individual families so even more people can have access to safe and healthy drinking water.

We started this round of projects a little differently with an entire new training model – utilizing prefabricated cisterns and new educational materials.  We built a 7,500L capacity rainwater system for an elementary school in the community of Los Lopez, which suffers from excessively high arsenic and fluoride concentrations.   Given the great –  and ever increasing – need for rainwater systems, the goal of this training was to provide a new model that illustrates how local families can build their own rainwater systems, with minimal labor, and increase their storage capacity over time.  The three 2,500L capacity cisterns were installed one-by-one, showing how a family can add on to their systems year after year.  This new model utilized special workshop materials – some designed specifically for the community – from one of Caminos de Agua’s long-term interns currently working on her master’s degree. 

This system will provide safe and healthy water to 211 elementary students!  Take a look at the new educational materials recently developed on our website here (English versions): http://caminosdeagua.org/water-education/

From the community of Los Lopez, we moved back to the north to break ground on six (6) 12,000L ferrocement cistern models with our regional partner – the United Communities for Life and Water coalition.  These systems are being built as we speak in three (3) rural communities suffering from some of the most intense water quality and access concerns in the region.

We started these projects with a week-long capacity training, led by Caminos de Agua staff, in the community of Llano Verde, where 20-30 people participated from the surrounding area.  This small rural community of 17 families has almost no water access.  They currently receive water once or twice per month (only 200-400 liters) from a neighboring community at one single tap. The two (2) systems built in this community will serve the 11 participating families, all of whom will receive their own filter system thanks in part to Mission for Life.

The two additional communities – Arenal and La Escoba – participated in the capacity training at Llano Verde and are almost done with their four (4) respective systems.  Similar to Llano Verde, the small rural community of La Escoba also lacks regular water access.  Arenal, a slightly larger community of 46 families in total, has semi-regular water access; however, their water is some of the most contaminated in the region, with arsenic and fluoride levels at 9 and 12 times World Health Organization recommendations respectively, making its consumption potentially acutely toxic.

In total, these six systems were built quicker than any to date, as the communities are anxiously attempting to take advantage of any potential late-season rainfall.  In total, these systems are anticipated to impact more than 40 families in the region. 

By the end of the year, we will have officially:

  1. Built 38 rainwater systems – with more than 20 coming from Global Giving supporters –in partnership with 17 rural communities throughout the region, providing homes and schools with more than 450,000 liters of healthy water storage, and
  2. Installed more than 130 ceramic water filter systems, with the ability to produce nearly 5.7 million liters of safe drinking water over their lifetime.


We still have hundreds of communities that need your support.  You can see how we continue to leverage new and existing partners to expand our impact with each project.  Next year we already have projects scheduled with local organizations as well as international universities in several local schools.  Please, help us expand the impact of those projects!

Our sincerest thanks to Wageningen University for providing the support for this current project, all of you in Global Giving for your on-going support, and special thanks to the local communities for providing all of the labor, lunches, and love for these projects.

Saludos,
Dylan Terrell

Caminos staff performs training on contaminants
Caminos staff performs training on contaminants
Mothers install rainwater system at local school
Mothers install rainwater system at local school
Providing 200+ elementary students drinking water
Providing 200+ elementary students drinking water
Taking a much-needed break during a cistern build
Taking a much-needed break during a cistern build
Staff works with mother's group at school install
Staff works with mother's group at school install
Families get busy during large capacity training
Families get busy during large capacity training
Finishing up a cistern in a local community
Finishing up a cistern in a local community
Aug 25, 2016

Expanding Impact with New Partners!

New cistern inauguration in San Antonio
New cistern inauguration in San Antonio

Dear Global Giving Supporters,

This is an exciting time for our rainwater harvesting work.  Since our last report, we have been able to expand our impact exponentially in the community of San Antonio de Lourdes!  If you recall, San Antonio’s community drinking well went dry roughly eight years ago.  The only source of water is trucked in from nearby agricultural deposits and has the highest rates of arsenic and fluoride contamination in the region.

In partnership with Engineers Without Borders – University College of London (EWB-UCL), we are able to build 10 new rainwater cisterns in San Antonio in community homes.  This builds off the original three systems we did with the help of Global Giving supporters in the same community.  Additionally, we will be providing more than 30 Caminos ceramic filter systems so that neighbors can take advantage of the rainwater cisterns as well. 

EWB-UCL provided the funding for the cisterns, while Caminos de Agua provided the capacity training (see photos below).  The week-long training – led by Caminos Director of Community Projects –  was opened up to organizations and neighboring communities.  In total, more than 30 people attended the training throughout the entire construction process.  Partners at the “Children Support Foundation” (FAI in Spanish) have already taken that training and begun construction of 12 of their own rainwater cisterns in six neighboring communities. 

With the help of Global Giving supporters like you and old and new partners stepping up, we have been able to make a dramatic impact since the start of this project.  By the end of this month, we will have:

  1. Built 31 rainwater harvesting cisterns in 13 rural communities, providing schools and homes with more than 375,000 liters of healthy water storage, and
  2. Installed more than 80 ceramic water filter systems, with the combined ability to produce more than 3.5 million liters of safe drinking water over their 5-year life.

Help us reach a half a million liters of water storage and more than 100 filter installs before the rainy season ends!   The EWB-UCL partnership that funded the current round was a one-time project.  Moving forward, there are still dozens of communities with little to no access to drinking water, and the rainy season is slowly winding down.

Thank you for your support.

Saludos,
Dylan

PS...take a look at our work recentely featured in the New York Times, here

Local community members placing the cistern roof
Local community members placing the cistern roof
Placing the cistern at the San Antonio training
Placing the cistern at the San Antonio training
Communities and foreign engineers working together
Communities and foreign engineers working together
Caminos staff explains the ceramic filter
Caminos staff explains the ceramic filter
Students from the UK stop by to lend hand
Students from the UK stop by to lend hand

Links:

 
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