By Bruce Janklow
Juana Reyes Bocanegra and her family live in the ranching community of La Luz located in a remote area between San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo. Having been born and raised there, she is aware that community members have always battled for access to the dwindling supply of water.
In 2004, a well was finally drilled near La Luz, serving eight to nine small communities, but over time the population grew and the well provided less water. Today water access is sporadic, at best, with service available only two or three hours a day but never on a set schedule. “If you’re at your house when the water arrives, you can collect it, but if (you’re not at home), you go the whole day without water,” says Juana.
Over time, Juana has become an expert at managing her family’s water, but despite her tight controls, the family still struggles to have enough water to drink, cook, wash, and bathe.
Given the family’s battle for water, Andrea, one of Juana’s daughters, was eager to participate in a rainwater-harvesting project with Caminos de Agua at her local high school. At the end of the program when her family’s water scarcity situation was made known, they were chosen to further collaborate with Caminos and build a rainwater harvesting system for their home.
This opportunity is going to make a huge change in the lives of Juana and her family. By capturing and storing the clean, healthy water that nature provides, the family’s water needs will be met.
But now, to escape infection with COVID-19, Juana and her family will have to wash their hands many more times a day, wash down all surfaces, and clean everything that comes into their house. They must do all this while managing to stay well hydrated and take care of their normal water needs.
Caminos de Agua is working with Juana and her family—as well as 10 other families–to get these rainwater systems built as quickly as possible, while taking appropriate precautions to protect staff and community participants. For these families, having rainwater-harvesting systems will make the difference between remaining at serious risk and being able to take measures to minimize the threat.
Caminos de Agua is clear about its mission during this crisis. There are tens of thousands of people in the region who were already suffering from dwindling water supplies and increasing water contamination before COVID-19 came on to the scene. Now, to have a fighting chance as the virus approaches, many of these communities need greater access to clean water and new strategies to minimize the spread when enough water isn’t available.
To do this, Caminos is moving quickly to produce new educational programming with a focus on communities with water contamination and limited water access.
To find out more about Caminos de Agua and their work visit www.caminosdeagua.org.