As you may know, in 2016 Caminos de Agua expanded its water quality monitoring campaign to include urban areas of San Miguel de Allende. In conjunction with Texas A&M University and the University of Guanajuato, we performed hundreds of tests in 27 different sites throughout the urban center. These water quality tests show elevated arsenic and/or fluoride, well above national and international standards, in more than 60% of the samples tested.
Awareness raising in the urban area is the first, and maybe the most important step. We have focused on diverse activities to raise attention to the urban situation - from meetings and presentations with municipal authorities to radio interviews. However, one of the more successful activities was our workshop at Vía Orgánica.
By utilizing our new educational materials, we illustrated how rainwater harvesting is an affordable and easy option for urban residents. With just one small 500L storage tank - which we installed at Vía Orgánica for the workshop - one can harvest sufficient rainwater to provide drinking water for two people year-round and up to 15 people during the rainy season (May – October)! These small-scale rainwater harvesting systems are perfect for urban populations as they take up little space; and when accompanied with biological treatment, they make one of the best drinking water sources available.
Check out the system yourself the next time you're at Vía Orgánica. It is located in the roof garden with signs explaining all the different systems involved.