Safe access to clear water
The climatic conditions in the Andes are harsh. The soil does not yield much and water resources in the remote rural communities are scarce. Climate change exacerbates the problem. Contaminated water leads to diseases in humans and animals. Therefore, the protection of water sources and the regular cleaning of water systems in the communities is essential.
Strengthening local water committees to ensure access to clean drinking water for people and animals, to preserve agriculture as a livelihood and to improve the general health of the population.
The mostly indigenous population in the remote villages of the Andes lives mainly from agriculture. The climatic conditions are harsh and the yield from the hard work is low. The people feel the effects of climate change directly. The small harvest becomes even more modest as a result. Some of the people live in extreme poverty. Clean water is essential for the survival of the population in the highlands. Climate change is making this precious commodity scarce, and sources polluted by animals, waste and chemical fertilizers lead to diseases among people and animals. Through the promotion of water committees in the communities, the rural population has access to clean drinking water, which contributes to an improvement in general health.
The water committees are responsible for the administration, operation, and maintenance of the drinking water systems in the communities. Each legally recognised committee consists of a board with at least five members who are responsible for administration. They are elected by the general assembly, which is made up of representatives of all families who have registered for use. All registered families in the community help to clean and maintain the water pipes and tanks and pay a fee of between 0.25 and 0.5 Swiss francs per month to the water committee.
The project is part of our holistic Programme Healthy Municipalities and is implemented in both Peru and Bolivia.
In coordination with the technical officers of the municipalities, our experts in the communities check existing water committees, advise them and equip them with waterproof work clothes, rubber boots as well as tool kits and cleaning materials such as buckets, brushes and brooms.
To achieve sustainability, water committees need to be institutionalised and compensated for their services. Our operative teams inform them about the state norms and how they have to establish themselves as an institution in order to be recognised by the state and thus be entitled to legal protection, technical advice and funding for projects. Then the activities to protect and properly maintain the water systems are discussed, tasks are distributed and recorded in activity plans.
Our teams accompany the committees in the communities on their way from foundation to state recognition and in the implementation of activities such as the protection of water sources. Fences are built, for example, to prevent pollution from animals or waste from people from entering the water system. It is also important to reforest with trees around a water source to prevent it from drying out. Other central measures of the committees are the maintenance and cleaning of drinking water tanks and of water supply systems. In cooperation with the local water committees, our experts also check the chlorine content in the water and monitor the functioning of the water systems.
To reduce water pollution, we do not only create awareness among the members of the water committees on correct waste disposal and general environmental issues but also among school children and the general population. Table games and colouring books developed by Suyana are used. This awareness-raising process also includes an exchange of experiences with water committees that have been strengthened in previous years, where they report on their work and experiences.
In 2021, 69 water committees in 70 communities were equipped with tool kits for the maintenance of water systems. 43 communities regularly implement measures to protect their water sources. 52 communities now have drinking water that is regularly disinfected with chlorine by the water committees. 9,709 people and 2,953 families now have safe access to clean water. Due to the state recognition, the local water committees will continue to exist in the future.
Costs: 6’020 Swiss francs (86 Swiss francs per tool kit).
Together we make it happen
For more information get in touch with:
+41 41 710 82 16
Keep up to date with our exciting activities