Mar 1, 2016

Rainwater Harvesting Campaign: Ramping up again in 2016

Rainwater system in use at rural elementary school
Rainwater system in use at rural elementary school

Dear Global Giving Supporters, 

We have big news to kick off our first report of 2016.  Our organization, CATIS Mexico, recently changed its name to Caminos de Agua to better suit our mission and vision moving forward! Our dedication to providing clean and safe water for communities in rural Mexico has not changed in the slightest.  Now we just have a name that better promotes the work we do.  While CATIS Mexico is still one of our legal names, we will be using Caminos de Agua as our official name moving forward. 

We are floored by the excitement and support we have received down here in Mexico regarding the new name, and we hope all of you are excited by it as well! 

Now…on to the updates.

Closing out 2015, we were able to do so much more with the funds raised through Global Giving than we thought possible.  That is due in great part to the amazing communities we work with who provided all of the labor, sand, gravel, tools, and other materials for free. 

That said, since our last update, we have not brought in enough funds through Global Giving to do another rainwater system just yet.  However, that does not mean we are closing out this project!  The funds we do have will be added to a small grant received through our partner coalition – the Coalition in Defense of the Independence Watershed.  In our last coalition meeting, our community partners proposed cisterns in four communities: Los Platanos, Pozo Hondo, Rancho Nuevo, and San Antonio de la Lourdes.  Those last two names may sound familiar.  Both Ranch Nuevo and San Antonio were part of earlier rainwater projects through this Global Giving campaign.   There is so much need in these two communities and their dedication is awe-inspiring.  Thus, we are going back to start a new phase for these two communities, and we are planning on starting all four (4) of these new rainwater systems in March.

We need your help to get keep this moving!  The rainy season is right around the corner, and we need to take advantage now! There are hundreds of thousands of people – in more than 2,000 rural communities - in this region alone still suffering from water access and contamination concerns, and we are committed to getting them clean and safe drinking water through our proven system.  We are now looking for new sources of funding to continue this important work, but we hope all of our Global Giving donors will continue to have a loud voice in this project.  We want you to continue being part of this, and we have shown what we can accomplish with your support.  So, please, consider donating to this project, and/or telling your friends about this work.

I would like to end with a quick summary of what we have accomplished so far through this campaign:

1)    Increased our estimated impact by 30% of the original proposal due to the efforts of local communities themselves,

2)    Installed 14 rainwater-harvesting cisterns and 32 ceramic water filtration systems,

3)    These systems were installed in 24 community homes and 6 rural schools,

4)    Providing direct access to clean and safe drinking water to more than 300 people in 7 different communities.

We are continuing to increase our impact through any means possible, and we hope you will continue to help making that happen.  As always, thank you so much for your support in making this work happen.

 

Saludos,

Dylan

Dec 1, 2015

Rainwater Harvesting Campaign: Still Rolling Strong!

Community members of San Antonio celebrate!
Community members of San Antonio celebrate!

Greetings from CATIS Mexico,

We are excited to update all of our Global Giving supporters on the continued success of the rainwater harvesting installations!  With your support, combined with the generosity of the local communities, we have been able to extend the impact of this work well beyond what we initially thought possible! Since our last project report, we have built rainwater-harvesting systems in three new communities that desperately need safe and healthy water alternatives. Additionally, we’ve installed six more ceramic filter systems to accompany the rainwater cisterns.

First, here is a quick summary of everything we have accomplished to date:

  1. Installed 14 rainwater-harvesting cisterns, with integrated first-flush systems, in 7 rural communities throughout the region. We assumed the funding would only allow for 10 systems, but due to the communities’ involvement, we were able to build 4 more than originally anticipated.
  2. Provided 32 ceramic water filtration systems to accompany the rainwater-harvesting systems. These filters were placed in community centers, 6 schools, and 24 family homes.
  3. This means nearly 170,000 liters of rainwater storage and up to 768 liters of filtered water per day – providing clean drinking water to dozens of families, more than 100 kindergarten and elementary students, and overall will directly impact more than an estimated 300 people.
  4. We recently posted a video that highlights the first part of this project! Check it out at our project homepage here

 

Please read on for the current project updates:

The first new project occurred in the community of San Antonio de la Lourdes. This community’s drinking well collapsed not once – but twice – in the last 10 years due to the overexploitation of the groundwater from large-scale agricultural producers in the area. Members of the community have to travel to neighboring communities and collect from other sources to meet their water needs. One common source for the community has been a nearby agricultural spigot, which tested at the highest levels for both arsenic and fluoride seen in the region. The maximum allowable concentration for fluoride is 1.5 mg/L. This site tested at 23.4 mg/L. That’s more than 15 times the allowable limit! The rainwater system was built at the local community church (a roof with a large surface area to collect as much water as possible), and will provide arsenic and fluoride-free rainwater for the community. The two ceramic filtration systems were placed in the local community kindergarten and elementary schools – assuring that the children will have continued access to safe drinking water.

 After San Antonio, we moved to the community of Rancho Nuevo. This community receives water from a neighboring community well that is contaminated with fluoride at levels more than 4 times the maximum allowable limit. Again, the rainwater harvesting system was connected to the largest communal roof – the church – to maximize rainwater collection potential and the ceramic filter systems were placed in the local school.

The last project wrapped up just this past week in the community of Pozo Ademado, where fluoride levels have been rising rapidly and are currently at nearly 5 times above the allowable limit. Further, Pozo Ademado only receives water about once a week, and the community well often does not provide sufficient water to reach the families furthest away. The rainwater-harvesting system was built directly between the church and the local elementary school – utilizing the church’s large roof surface to collect the rainwater while making it easy for the elementary school to take water from the cistern and fill the ceramic water filtration systems placed in their classrooms. In is anticipated that rainwater collection cistern can be filled up to 4 or 5 times a year (again, given the large roof connected to it), allowing families throughout the community to take water home for filtration, cooking, and drinking.

Thank you so much for your support in making this work possible! And many thanks to all of the families who came out every day, working for free, to help create healthy and safe water access for their community.  With their support, we were able to increase the anticipated impact by nearly 30%. With continued support from donors like you, we can keep expanding the impact of this work and provide safe water to more and more people. Please, help us spread the word!

Sealing the inside of the cistern
Sealing the inside of the cistern
Finished cistern in Pozo Ademado
Finished cistern in Pozo Ademado
Taking out rainwater for the first time!
Taking out rainwater for the first time!
Community women mixing cement
Community women mixing cement
Gracias!
Gracias!
Sep 8, 2015

Rainwater Harvesting Campaign Nearing Completion!

Families receiving water filtration systems
Families receiving water filtration systems

Greetings from CATIS Mexico,

We are eager to update all of our supporters on the incredible success of our rainwater harvesting campaign.  

First, here are some of the latest project highlights:

  1. 10 rainwater harvesting cisterns with integrated first-flush systems were built in community homes and one community school and 27 CATIS Mexico ceramic water filtration systems have been installed to date. This provides 120,000 liters of clean drinking water storage and an additional 2,000 liters of non-drinking water storage. Additionally, the 27 water filtration systems can provide up to 648 liters of clean drinking water per day (nearly a USD $1,000 value when compared to buying 20-liter bottles of water). An estimated 40 families, 35 students, and 3 teachers – representing more than 200 people – directly benefit from these rainwater-harvesting systems.
  2. We are under budget, even with the addition of the first-flush systems (originally not included in the project budget) while also doubling the water filtration systems distributed (to 27).
  3. The project has provided additional training and educational opportunities in the region.
  4. This Friday marks a time to celebrate. All three communities are hosting parties to mark the completion of their rainwater cistern builds. Surrounding neighbors are invited to be inspired for future work. We wish you could join us!
  5. September 16th is a Globalgiving Match Day. Mark your calendars to donate and have your gifts matched 30%.

Please read on for the project details:

Dylan Terrell, Executive Director of CATIS Mexico, and Lucha Villafuerte, community outreach coordinator for the Coalition in Defense of the Independence Aquifer (CODECIN), have been working continuously with communities in the northeastern section of the independence watershed – providing educational workshops, technical trainings and building rainwater catchment systems! All of this work has been done in conjunction with the local communities who, after initial trainings, have organized other communities and the construction and installation of the rainwater catchment systems.

Through a partnership with Padre Juan Carlos Zesati and the San Cayetano Community Center (located in the heart of this region), the first two communities slated to participate in this section of the project were Las Adjuntas de San José (Las Adjuntas) and Los Cuates. These two communities are located in the northernmost region of the watershed and, until recently, had no water access except for government filled cisterns that frequently left families without any water for weeks at a time. These government cisterns, even when filled consistently, allowed for roughly 5.6 liters per day per person in these communities.   That’s 5.6 liters/day for everyone’s drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing water! The eight rainwater harvesting cisterns built to date, each with a 12,000-liter storage capacity, directly serve 24 families (more than 100 people) and greatly increase water access for the communities.

We are excited to report that we were able to include an automatic, 200 liter capacity “first flush” system with each cistern. This feature, designed by CATIS Mexico, was not included in the original project. However, we felt it necessary to provide the highest quality of water for community families. This first flush system works as a simple “roof cleaning” system by separating out the first 200 liters of every rainfall (i.e. the “dirtiest” water that could be contaminated from the roof surface). This first flush water is not for drinking, but it can be utilized for washing clothes, cleaning or other additional needs. After the roof has been rinsed and the flush system filled, the cleanest rainwater then enters the 12,000-liter ferrocement collection cistern for long-term storage. This water will be used throughout the 8-month dry season for drinking and cooking.

Water from the cistern cannot be guaranteed to be potable without some sort of filtration and/or disinfection. Every family involved (not just every cistern) also received a CATIS Mexico ceramic water filtration system to use inside their homes. The ceramic water filters work by filtration and disinfection simultaneously and can remove more than 99.9999% of bacteria and pathogens (that’s better than US-EPA standards!)

The project created trainers out of the rainwater-harvesting workshop community “trainees.” One family from Las Adjuntas volunteered to lead the capacity training for the next cistern build at the Las Palomas’ elementary school. This school serves communities throughout the region but has no regular water access. Often the school’s cistern remains empty for up to three weeks, which means no drinking water, no flushing of the toilets, no hand washing, etc.

Two rainwater cisterns with integrated first flush systems were built in the Las Paloma’s elementary school. This gives 30+ elementary school students, additional students at the adjacent middle school, and nearby families access to 24,000-liters of stored rainwater. Along with the cisterns, each classroom (including the adjacent middle school) received a ceramic water filtration system.

In total, 10 rainwater harvesting cisterns with integrated first flush systems were built in community homes and one community school and 27 CATIS Mexico ceramic water filtration systems were installed.

But that’s not all! While we have officially achieved what we thought possible with the funds raised through this campaign, we were able to stretch those dollars even further. This is thanks to the communities themselves who provided all of the labor as well as the sand and gravel for free. Because of this, we estimate that we will be able to build two additional rainwater-harvesting systems in two new communities! We will be working with the local communities in the coming weeks to organize the projects, which will involve communities throughout the region and be utilized to teach about both national and local water issues.

Thank you so much for your support in making this happen! And please spread the word. With more funds raised, more communities can have access to clean and safe water.

2 rainwater systems in community primary school
2 rainwater systems in community primary school
Families help build school rainwater cisterns
Families help build school rainwater cisterns
Partner - Lucha Villafuerte - explains the system
Partner - Lucha Villafuerte - explains the system
Community fathers lend a hand in the construction
Community fathers lend a hand in the construction
12,000L cistern with integrated 200L first flush
12,000L cistern with integrated 200L first flush
 
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