Prior to Global Brigads arrival, Palo Verde did not have a water system. Some community members obtained water by connecting hoses to small, contaminated water sources. Others, namely women and children, walked to nearby water sources and lugged buckets of water to their homes. The type of water source (spring, stream, puddle, hand well) and distance to the source varied depending on the season as many sources dry up during the dry season. Thus, practicing proper sanitation and hygiene was difficult for community members due to a low quantity of water in their homes. Furthermore, there was no central way for the community members to treat their water. After discussions with community members, it appeared that very few people treat their water in their homes. Those who treated their water typically used chlorine or boiled their water.
As a small community, Palo Verde had received little attention from their local government. After Water Brigade’s first visit to the community it was clear that neither the government nor any other organization had any pending plans to address the water problem in Palo Verde. The community did not have a Water Council nor a Basic Sanitation Committee and members did not pay any fee for their water.
Water System Solution
Water Brigaders from nine different universities worked in Palo Verde in March 2012. During that time, these volunteers worked with community members to:
• Construct a new dam and raise a fence to protect it
• Construct a 5,000 gallon tank with chlorinator
• Dig 7,688 meters of trench and install pipeline
• Connect 30 houses and 1 school to the system
• Supply each house with a water storage bucket
• Provide educational seminars to children in the community on water and health related topics
To ensure the sustainability of the project, a new nine member Water Council and a Basic Sanitation Committee were established and trained by Water Brigades. Two community plumbers were also identified and trained to maintain the new system. The community of Palo Verde greatly enjoyed working alongside student volunteers to construct their water system demonstrated by significant community participation throughout the process. In addition to the thirty families that earned their connection through their work on the project, ten families and young adults volunteered in order to secure a connection when they move to their own homes in the future. Such forward thinking ensures that they will have access to clean water when they marry in the coming years.
Water Project Stages
All stages of this water project have been completed.