WATER AND SANITATION INITIATIVES
El Salvador is in the middle of a crises to provide clean water to its population. Only 50% of people have access to a local potable water source, and 82% of the potable water available is heavily contaninated. In communities like Las Delicias, where ENLACE works, people must purchase water from a truck that serves water from a local polluted river. Many pay up to 25% of their already low incomes to buy water.
Sanitation is also a major problem in rural El Salvador . Often human waste mixes with water used for consumption, leading to high rates of intestinal diseases that kill many every year.
ENLACE works with communities and churches to develop wholistic solutions to these problems. Based in our “Healthy Communities” progam, our team coaches health committees to identify the root problems and design initiatives that are sustainable and that have the highest degree of impact to overall health. ENLACE subcontracts with local Salvadoran non-profits to provide top notch consultation in the construction of wells, distribution systems, purification systems, and sanitation solutions. Outside funding resources are only solicited by ENLACE, after a church and community have come together to create a long term initiatve.
This article articulates the crises currently facing El Salvdor:
A Wet Country - excerpt by John Hamiltion in NPR
El Salvador isn't a place where you'd expect to find water problems. After all, it gets nearly six feet of rainfall each year. But Ricardo Navarro says clean water is in short supply. Contaminated water kills thousands of Salvadorans every year. Most are children.
"When we talk about the water problem in El Salvador , we are talking about that: the lack of clean water to drink," says Navarro, president of an environmental group called the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology.
He says the country has failed to protect a precious resource. Farmers have cut down forests that used to store rain water. Ranchers have allowed their livestock to pollute rivers. Communities have put latrines too close to shallow wells.
"Big enterprises… use the river as a place where they can throw everything. So whatever chemical goes in, it goes out," Navarro says.
Digging Past Pollution
One solution is deep wells. They draw from aquifers so far underground they are protected from surface pollution. Groups like the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and CARE International have funded a lot of these wells as part of efforts to build modern water systems. But large, ambitious projects often prove hard to sustain.
For example, in the mountainous region north of San Salvador , an international coalition raised more than $500,000 to bring clean water into more than 500 homes near the town of Montepeque . A Belgian team helped design the system. Local engineers drilled a well 500 feet deep. Residents spent months digging trenches for miles of pipe.
Cornelio Segura, the president of the local water board, shows what all that money has bought. He points to a thick iron pipe that carries water from a well to an underground cistern the size of a small apartment. "This is what they call the discharge tree. From there comes the water that we put in the cistern."
Then, Segura opens a well hatch that covers a pump. He was there in August when they switched it on. Water flowed for a week. Then a power surge fried the pump motor at the bottom of the well. The designers hadn't allowed for the unpredictable nature of El Salvador's electrical service. Segura says it will take a big crane and $1,800 to fix the pump.
"The donors gave all the material, tubing, equipment, everything, but they don't give money for maintenance," he says.
If you are interested in how you can contribute to ENLACE's “Water and Sanitation Initiatives” please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give online...