Aliaxis supports Fundación Cerro Verde in drilling water wells in poor, rural regions. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the world with approximately 63% of its population living below the poverty line and over 600,000 people across the country lacking access to drinking water. This past year, Aliaxis was proud to have been able to contribute to an important water project to provide clean water to rural families in Honduras.
In many poor, rural villages in the Linaca region in Honduras, people sometimes have to walk up to 10 km to fetch their water from small springs that are often contaminated and unprotected. “This means that children often can’t go to school because they need to walk half a day to get water for their families. As the water is often contaminated, many people in the villages fall sick on a regular basis,” says Maria Gonzalez Rodriguez of Fundación Cerro Verde.
Water for Waica and Esquillal
This Spanish NGO focuses on providing general access to water, electricity and education in South American regions. “The lack of water causes a whole series of problems. Since farmers have no means to irrigate and grow their own food, they live in deteriorating conditions and become even poorer.” Through Selavip, Aliaxis supported Fundación Cerro Verde last year in drilling a water well for two rural villages in Honduras: Waica and Esquillal.
“The main goal of this project was to supply drinking water for approximately 370 people. With the assistance of a local team of experts, we started to look for a suitable location to drill. As the aim was to use one well for the provision of drinking water to two different villages, we focused our efforts along the dust road joining the villages”, explains Maria Gonzalez Rodriguez.
“370 more people in Honduras now have access to clean drinking water”
Finding a good location to drill the well was a big challenge, because in these remote rural areas there are no available feasibility studies to determine where water can be found. “We needed to find a location that combined the best expectations for water to be found, good accessibility for the drilling equipment and the highest number of people who could benefit from the well.” After three attempts at different depths, water was finally found at a depth of 18 metres.
“We also had to plan all our work to be carried out within a few months, because the drilling could not be done during the rainy season. The poor quality of the soil, formed mainly from volcanic ash, and the poor capacity of the drilling machinery, posed challenges for us, but in January 2017 we managed to finish the drilling. In March, we bought and installed the submersible pump and the electrical equipment.”
After the initial drilling, the well was protected by a high-pressure PVC pipe. Because the well needs to supply water to two different communities, instead of a distribution net, a self-service installation was put in place. The installation consists of four different reservoirs which are all connected with pipes and several taps from which the inhabitants can take water. “The well produces approximately 95 litres of water per minute, so their water deposits can be refilled in about 45 minutes.”
“People from the villages can fill their reservoirs four times a day, according to the regulations of the local Water Committee. This committee consists of people like teachers who have some standing in the community. They supervise the maintenance of the water well and pump installation.” The Water Committee in Waica and Esquillal set two fixed times for pumping in the morning and another two in the afternoon, making available about 16,000 litres of water per day for the villagers.
“People from the villages now have easy access to pure water 4 times a day.”
The committee also manages the maintenance costs of the well and supervises the water quality to ensure it is potable by adding chlorine when necessary. “To determine the parameters for potable water, we work with a specialised lab in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Together with the representatives from the Water Committee, we have also agreed a very small fixed price that consumers have to pay for their water.”
This is how Fundación Cerro Verde ensures the sustainability of its projects. “Otherwise, when the well needs to be fixed or the pump installation needs to be replaced, there will be no money for this and all our efforts will have been in vain. We need to make sure that people have access to clean water in the long term, not only today. We visit all our projects three or four times a year. We check the status of the wells and interview the community representatives to ask how things are going.”
This sustainable way of thinking was one of the reasons encouraging Aliaxis to support Fundación Cerro Verde. “We draw up a report on each project supported by Aliaxis through Selavip. It has proved to be an excellent and reliable partner to us, because of its extensive expertise in the business, so their people understand perfectly what possible challenges face each project,” concludes Maria Gonzalez Rodriguez.
UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Clean water and sanitation for all is the ambition of the sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6) of the United Nations and is a key foundation for other goals. Globally, water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world’s population and more than 80% of wastewater is discharged into the sea without any treatment. Although access to clean water is a basic human right, water and sanitation-related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five and impact millions more. That is why Aliaxis supports the Sustainable Development Goals and believes that — because of the nature of its activities — it can make the most impact for Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation for all.