Conclusion of Alvaro Obregon Water System Project – Mexico

This project has been completed under the direction of Tamara Brennan, Ph.D. of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was designed to improve and expand the community water system serving the community of 350 people.

Tamara reports:

Now that water is flowing to every home, the troubles are finally over for people in Alvaro Obregon. All the households receive water, whereas before this work was done, the people farthest down the slope had to go as much as 30 days before a small amount of water reached them. Those difficult times are over.

To celebrate, the community held a formal inauguration event complete with firecrackers, local dignitaries making speeches, and a feast enjoyed by all. The new team that will head the water committee took up their new charge with speeches about how much they appreciate that their work to serve the community will be so much more rewarding since that there is enough water to distribute to everyone.

This project solved the problem of the severe lack of water due to the fact that the community’s original source of water dries up for half of the year. Now the water from a creek 2 kilometers away that flows all year long has been connected into the existing system to better supply water to everyone including during the dry season.

The work went smoothly beginning with the men building the catchment dam/tank at the bottom of the waterfall using rock they hauled from downstream. Reinforced with rebar and concrete, this is a strong structure that can withstand the intense earthquakes and the flooding that has become more frequent in recent years due to widespread deforestation.

The men worked over a couple of weekends to install the 2-kilometer water hose. The hose was delivered upslope on the highway. It took four men to carry each heavy roll of hose down the challenging terrain. The hose was buried in a hand-dug trench to protect it, a measure that prolongs the life of the hose and prevents animals from damaging it. Each joint was reinforced with metal clamps to prevent the water pressure from separating it, a problem that otherwise would require continual maintenance. The system is now functioning well.

While we had hoped to be able to help the community do much-needed erosion control, our efforts to find seedlings for reforestation came up empty-handed. Despite a month’s long effort searching to find the appropriate species and quality of pines, cedars, and willows, neither the Mexican forest service nor COPALAR, the army’s nursery that produces seedling for reforestation had any trees appropriate for this region. The people in Alvaro Obregon continue to be interested in reforesting the watershed above their lands so we have agreed to find a way to produce native trees that they can plant come next rainy season.

During the festivities on the day of the celebration, I explained that the work we did together was made possible thanks to the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle through Water Charity. They were moved that people so far away would care about their well-being. Had they been there that day, they would have been served a double portion of delicious barbacoa.

We at the Sexto Sol Center are grateful to Water Charity for the support that has made it possible for us to help this community and so many more.

We extend our thanks to Tamara for completing this important project. We are grateful to Michael and Carla Boyle for providing the funds for this project.