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 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 chemical contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, pesticides, and other agricultural or industrial runoff. 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.
To survive, families buy plastic tanks and fill them at distant villages or irrigation wells – one of which registered the highest levels of arsenic and fluoride we have ever seen. The local kindergarten often went weeks without water for washing or flushing in their bathroom.
So Doña Esperanza and her neighbors got organized, and in 2015, Caminos de Agua helped them build their first rainwater harvesting system – providing a handful of residents with safe and healthy drinking water for the first time in years.
In the following the years, Doña Esperanza and others from the community continued to work with Caminos de Agua and one of our most important grassroots partners – United Communities for Life and Water. Together, we have completed four projects – building 20 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems and installing dozens of ceramic filters in schools, homes, and at the community church.
Today, Doña Esperanza continues to be a leader in her community, and was recently named an official member of the water committee.
Thanks to Doña Esperanza, and others like her, there is hope for a new generation in San Antonio de Lourdes.
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Project reports and summaries
rainwater harvesting Resources
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