Rancheria Salanueva Water Project – Mexico
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY & the NPCA.
Rancheria Salanueva, Chiapas, Mexico
Rancheria Salanueva, located 20 miles southwest of Motozintla, is home to 281 people. The standard of living is poor and there are no opportunities for paid work in the community. Most families are subsistence farmers who raise corn, beans and a few chickens for their own consumption. There are a couple of masons who work when they find jobs. The people do not produce coffee, so in general there is no cash crop to sell.
There is a kindergarten and an elementary school that serve children from the community and also from other neighborhoods. These schools will benefit from having running water available for preparing the school lunches and for sanitation.
Rancheria Salanueva is a rural settlement of 55 families living along the narrow river canyon between the City of Motozintla and the small town of Belesario Dominguez. The two lane state highway passes through the middle of Salanueva with the community meeting place sitting just meters away from occasional semi-trailers passing through, carrying merchandise from the coast to the interior of Chiapas.
Decades ago, a massive logging operation destroyed what had been a vast coniferous cloud forest in the higher elevations. As a result of this dramatic loss of vegetation, seasonal rains no longer replenish springs. Instead, torrential rains rush downhill carrying away the scant topsoil. Severe weather events are now more common as the climate has become unstable. When Hurricane Stan hit Central America in 2005, the people of Salanueva, like so many living in impoverished communities in this mountainous region, watched helplessly as the flood full of boulders and debris destroyed their water system. For all those years they have had to carry water from far away and women wash their laundry in the river.
It was understandably a great relief when the community received the good news that the City of Motozintla was going to install a formal water system for them 5 years ago. Unfortunately, though an impressive amount of funds had been allocated for the project, in the end, the contractor and mayor called the work “completed, even though the pipe ended 2.6 kilometers away from the homes. The subsequent administration rejected their appeal for help. They have lodged a formal complaint to the State but don’t expect a redress of their grievance.
This was a hard blow for the people who have continued to struggle to live with dignity even though they have not had reliable access to water for 15 years. They request assistance now to finish the project.
This project is to build a water system for the people of Rancho Salanueva.
The original work done by the city left a well-constructed dam at the source of what is a perennial spring with abundant water. The water line is galvanized steel pipe that covers about two kilometers of the total distance. A large holding tank was constructed at a strategic point above the settlement that will afford good pressure to deliver the water to the homes that are spread out on both sides of the highway.
The plan is to install 2.6 kilometers of heavy-duty 2-inch polyduct hose from the point where the existing steel pipe now abruptly ends and to connect it into the tank. We have used this material with great results for the many projects that we have completed to date. It is guaranteed against defect by the manufacturer.
The sections of hose will be fastened to the connectors with metal clamps that will secure the joints so they can withstand the pressure of the water. The hose will carry the water to the existing water tank from which it will be distributed to each family. The hose will be buried to keep it out of the sun and prolong its life. Most of the distance it will pass through is next to the highway so it will be easy to maintain it should there ever be a need. The men from the community are anxious to carry out this work and expect to be able to complete it quickly.
In the future we hope to provide them with seedlings of native trees for reforestation at their request.
281 people will benefit from the project.
The project to complete the water system for Rancheria Salanueva will be administered by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D., of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, an award-winning non-profit that has been working in the region since had 1997.
This project will be part of the ongoing Sierra Madre Water Program – Mexico & Guatemala, a comprehensive collaboration between Sexto Sol, Water Charity, and the National Peace Corps Association. The program aims to improve access to water in the under-served and impoverished settlements in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas region of Mexico, spanning the border with Guatemala. The program has already brought water to more than 10,000 people.
Monitoring and Maintenance
The members of the Water Association are well organized and committed to doing all that it will take to build the water system and to keep it maintained over the coming years. The people take turns serving as leaders of the association by the consent of the members. These elected leaders are charged with organizing the men and youth from each household to collaborate to maintain the system. Should any problems arise in the future, the members would share the costs of any needed repairs.
Having running water coming into their homes will liberate the women from the drudgery of having to carry heavy baskets of laundry to the river to wash it several times a week. This will free up a lot of time that they can then devote to other activities. It will also end the contamination of the river from soap and bleach.
People will enjoy a new peace of mind since they will no longer have to worry about how to get by without enough water in the dry season. They won’t have to wonder where they will get water to meet immediate needs every day. Children won’t have to help haul water and instead will be free to study and play. For those families that are lucky to have access to a trickle of water from a small creek or a tiny spring, the men will no longer have to spend hours every week fixing leaks or unclogging it when the water stops trickling in.
The schools will have enough water for their needs.
Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in the country.
Donations Collected to Date
Dollar Amount Needed
$0 – This project has been funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Foster, WV.
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