The current project is a continuation and broadening of two water projects which have been successfully implemented by our partner organisation Caritas Corocoro in two other municipalities of La Paz Department. These projects led to a noticeable improvement in the quality of life, particularly the health, of the participating families who, thanks to the installed household connections, now have water 24 hours a day, in sufficient quantity and quality for their consumption and personal hygiene.
This new project benefits a total of 415 families or around 2,200 people in 13 communities in the municipalities of Umala, Santiago de Machaca and Calacoto who currently have no safe drinking water source. Thanks to the project, these people get access to clean drinking water in sufficient quantity and quality and acquire the skills to erect their own sanitary facilities. In addition, they are given a basic knowledge of hygiene. The objective of the project is to make a contribution to the sustainable management of water resources and improved access to clean drinking water and hygiene in the Bolivian highlands.
In order to provide people with access to clean drinking water in sufficient quantity, water supply facilities are constructed in the 13 communities. Depending on the geological and hydrological conditions, they consist of pumping or gravity-fed water systems. With the support of the project, the water collection, the water distribution network, the household connections and other necessary infrastructures are installed or extended. All construction projects are integrated in the operational annual plans of the communities and entered in the corresponding household budgets with a contribution of 10 – 15% of the total costs. At the same time, the members of the community are made aware of the construction and use of toilets/latrines. The families are advised and supported by the project’s site engineer in constructing this facility.
In each community, a so-called water committee is established, which is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the water supply installations, as well as the collection and administration of the consumption fees.
These bodies are a vital factor in the proper functioning and sustainability of the erected infrastructure. The consumption-based fees are another important aspect of the sustainable functioning of the facilities. They are used for the maintenance of the installations and for any necessary repair work.
A new element is the direct involvement of the municipal authorities in supporting and monitoring the project activities, in particular providing advice and support to the water committees. For this purpose, the competent technical staff of the municipal administration are trained by the project team. The idea behind this step is to make sure that the municipal authority will continue to perform this function even after the project has ended, and that this will better guarantee the proper functioning of the water committee and therefore the sustainability of the water supply systems. There is also a new focus on the protection of basic water sources, which ensure the availability of water in the communities to the greatest possible extent.
The aim of the project activities is to establish structures and instruments within and across the communities in order to implement common measures for the protection of the sources. This includes awareness-raising measures at the level of the community, the water committees and the authorities, in order to create awareness of the problem. In a second step, practical measures for the protection of the sources and the rational use of water will be implemented in the respective communities, within the framework of action plans devised in a participatory process.