A priority project of APECA is the construction of sustainable Clean Water Collection/Catchment Systems based on a model previously developed and tested by Apeca in Peru, and designed to provide clean water, improve public health and infant mortality rate, and enhance sanitary living conditions. Entire families in the villages where the systems are installed will have access to this water at home, work, school, and play.
Currently, in the flood plains at the headwaters of the Amazon River basin, villagers collect their water directly from the river and its tributaries, or from contaminated wells. That water contains extensive health hazards ranging from mercury deposited by mining waste, chemical pollution from oil drilling and commercial agriculture, and natural parasite infestation from rain-forest runoff. Pictured at the right is the clean-water collection system installed at the Puesta de Salud in Neuvo Progresso. Communities benefiting from earlier Clean Water Projects by APECA show improvement in the incidence of respiratory infection, anemia, infant mortality rate, and sanitary living conditions.
Unsafe water is a leading concern of health experts around the world–more people die each year from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. In Peru significant portions of the population have no access to safe drinking water. In the District of Fernando Lores the percentage is among the highest. The Peruvian Ministry of Health estimates that over half of all deaths in the district of Fernando Lores are due to water-borne diseases.
Through funding provided by the Rotary Club of East Hartford, Connecticut, APECA installed its first water catchment system at the Neuvo Progreso ‘posta medica’ to provide clean and safe water to the clinic. (See photo above.)
Since that time a new system has been designed. With the help of an architect and a structural engineer this model has been tested and proven successful in other communities. Since the first project was installed in 2004, the lives of many have been impacted. APECA has identified 30 villages where this type of system is viable, and is applying for grants to assist in additional projects. The objective is to build Sustainable Clean Water Collection Systems based on working models developed and tested by APECA to provide clean water, improve public health, reduce infant mortality rate, and enhance sanitary living conditions of village communities.
Plastic antimicrobial collection tanks and custom built gutter systems, which are attached to the local school roof, appear to be the most cost effective basic materials for support, containment, and delivery of rainwater for this project. The collection tank and gutter construction design is simple and extremely robust, requiring very little maintenance. Those who benefit will be trained to maintain the water collection equipment, using spare or replacement parts readily available and affordable in Peru. APECA personnel will be available for consultation regarding equipment maintenance and repair.
The systems are designed to store sufficient water to provide safe water for the community for the longest possible dry spell that can occur; in this region of the Amazon rain is very regular, with the longest dry spells lasting no more than one week.
Steps for Sustainable Success
- Select a “qualified village” (see below*);
- Signed agreement between APECA and Village;
- Sanitation education sessions with villagers
- Identify/Construct a secure metal school roof-structure
- Acquire required sand
- Transport needed materials to site
- Dig pits and lay foundations
- Build pillars and platform
- Lay cement service area and provide drainage for over flow
- Hang gutter supports and install gutters
- Install water tanks; 12. Complete community training to insure sustainability of projects
Investment in a sustainable clean water system is considered for a village holding registration in good standing with the municipal government of the District of Fernando Lores. Elected leaders or other community leaders are required to have participated in Promotor de Salud training with APECA. A Public school building site must be situated safely out of potential harm from river level and course changes, and pass building construction inspection of roof to be used as a rain catchment area for assisting in the support of a gutter (water transport) to the collection area.
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