According to USAID´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project’s technical staff focused on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), a water supply system will be sustainable only if it promotes efficiencies on both the supply and the demand sides.
For the community of Barrio Los Olivos in Sibinal, San Marcos, the sustainability of their water supply became imperative after their water system, built less than 26 years ago, became obsolete due to a lack of knowledge of sustainability measures.
Recently CLD helped the community rehabilitate their old water system, create and train the community water commission, and trained the COCODE and community members in the efficient use, operation, and maintenance of their new system.
“We have trained the community water commission (in Los Olivos) in technical issues for operation and maintenance of the system, and we have also prioritized training for the efficient water use and management of the system.” -Juan Francisco Ortiz, CLD WASH field staff.
The rehabilitated system benefits over 230 people and includes 46 household faucets, new distribution lines, a caption tank, a chlorination system, water meters, and a new distribution tank.
“Our new water system is working correctly, the old system did not provide water anymore, the pipes were broken, the little water we got was dirty and we did not have meters to see how much water was being used. We will take care of this new sytem.” – Lucila Bartolón Berduo, beneficiary in Los Olivos.
On the demand side, CLD prioritized training aimed at water sustainability, like water meter readings to avoid water waste, and training for families in the conscious and efficient use of water. CLD also helped the water commission to create and implement water regulations that include a tariff system that ensures repair and maintenance funds.
On the supply side, CLD provided training to enhance water commission capacities in the operation and maintenance of water utilities, reducing leakages, and capacities to understand and operate the system.
“We did not know that we were wasting water, we did not have rules and we did not have water meters, now we know how much we are using and we are more aware of closing the faucet when it is not needed. We will take care of the water to have it for a long time.” –Floricelda Bartolón, beneficiary in Los Olivos.
USAID continues to invest in more efficient water systems and local capacity that facilitates a more sustainable water supply. A sustainable water supply involves local capacity building, awareness of the importance of conserving water, and support to create mechanisms of regulation to ensure the sustainability of the system.