Casita Linda and Caminos de Agua have joined forces to work with the community of Palo Colorado to build six large-scale rainwater harvesting systems in five new homes built by Casita Linda as well as one in the community’s elementary school.
The 12,000-liter capacity cisterns, combined with ceramic water filters, ensure that families and students will have access to safe and healthy drinking and cooking water year-round. Last week (02-10 to 06-10), the first system was build at the elementary school. Technical supervision was provided by Saúl Juarez, Caminos de Agua’s director of community projects. All the labour was provided by community members themselves. At the end of the week, this first system was finished and the process of building the six others started.
Casita Linda is a SMA-based NGO that builds family homes for families living in extreme poverty in the San Miguel de Allende area. Casita Linda’s mission is to create a dignified, safe, and empowering environment that will provide a foundation of hope for families living in extreme poverty. Casita Linda has its own Family Selection Committee that seeks out qualified families living in the marginal shelters in the San Miguel municipality. Depending on the size of each family, Casita Linda builds two or three bedroom houses. Recipient families play an active role in building their new home. Casita Linda provides architectural support and specialized labor in addition to the funds for building materials.
The Casita Linda’s roofs are designed to collect rainwater which creates an excellent link between Caminos de Agua’s work and Casita Linda’s houses. As is known and acknowledged by Casita Linda drinking water is a scarce commodity. Especially people living in extreme poverty experience difficulties in having access to safe and healthy drinking water.
The rainwater harvesting project executed by Caminos de Agua in association with Casita Linda is underway in the community called Palo Colorado, in San Miguel de Allende. Caminos de Agua tested the water quality in this community with the result of 0.84 mg/L for fluoride. Fluoride at this level will affect childhood development, especially if exposed in the womb. Current arsenic levels (10 µg/L) are at the World Health Organization recommended limit. Even though this is at the limit, this arsenic level puts long-term consumers at significant risk.
Casita Linda reached out to Caminos de Agua to do this pilot project. By also covering costs to harvest rainwater from their homes, program participants have a source of drinking water inherently free of mineral contaminants such as arsenic and fluoride. Once passed through our simple ceramic filter to remove biological pathogens, rainwater becomes an inexpensive safe and healthy water source for the families. This partnership between Casita Linda and Caminos de Agua provides families with both a dignified home and a safe, healthy source of water.