Today, 3.6 billion people live in water scarcity conditions, and as groundwater and surface water resources continue to dry up, that number is only expected to grow. These traditional water sources are also becoming increasingly contaminated. Groundwater can contain naturally occurring heavy metals and minerals (like arsenic and fluoride), and surface water and shallow wells are becoming increasingly contaminated with organic chemicals from agricultural and pharmaceutical runoff as well as industrial dumping due to inadequate corporate regulations. Long-term exposure can cause numerous cancers, development disorders, interference with the endocrine and reproductive systems, and a host of other health problems.
Finding new water resources is critical for the health of our planet. The solution becomes infinitely easy when we simply look to the sky and begin to view rainwater as a resource, instead of a nuisance.
Rainwater is immune to water table loss, and is also inherently free of contaminants like arsenic and fluoride as well as organic chemicals. Caminos de Agua’s rainwater harvesting programs improve community health, reduce environmental stress on over-extracted aquifers, and give people control and consistency over their water supply. These programs leverage community organizations and volunteer labor. Rainwater isn’t just the solution for our region, it’s a solution for the world.
On this page you will learn about rainwater harvesting systems, find information on our community-led rainwater harvesting projects, and be able to access our open-source educational materials to learn how you can capture rainwater and build your own systems.
A new community well was dug, but this time it went more than 200 meters deep. In 2010, that well went dry — actually collapsed in on itself — and the community has been without water ever since.
To survive, families bought plastic tanks and filled them at distant irrigation wells — water so high in arsenic and fluoride as to be unfit for human consumption. The local kindergarten often went weeks without water for washing or flushing.
Doña Esperanza and neighbors got organized, and in 2015, Caminos de Agua helped them build their first rainwater harvesting system, providing a handful of residents with safe, healthy drinking water —for the first time in years.
Today, thanks to Doña Esperanza and others like her, San Antonio de Lourdes has 20 Caminos rainwater cisterns, 32 ceramic filters, and hope for a new generation in this small village. But San Antonio de Lourdes is but one among many.
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Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Opera and Edge all offer excellent browser viewing experiences. Double-click or 'shift-drag-click' to zoom into certain regions. Click a point to learn more about a given project. Many project summaries include photos, additional documentation, and even videos.
Project reports and summaries
- Rainwater Harvesting Project in Cerritos, Guanajuato Show More
- Rainwater Harvesting Project in CBTis #60, San Miguel de Allende Show More
- Our Rainwater Harvesting Projects
- Water, Justice, and Sustainability in Rural Guanajuato - Dylan Terrell (executive director), TEDxSMA Show More
- Consuming the future - Jaime D. Hoogesteger van Dijk (Wageningen University) Show More
Our Educational Materials
- Rainwater Harvesting Construction Guide (Only Spanish) Show More
- Rainwater Harvesting Manual Show More