The Ngäbe region had been confronting problems with the water source of their aqueduct since its construction in the early 2000. The water source was built downstream of a cow pasture and with-out previous consultation with the land owners. This has exposed the community to waterborne illness and conflicts within the communities.
After over 15 years of negotiation with the land owners and government agencies. The land owners offered to donate another water source 1.70 km upstream with the condition that the communities abandon the current water source.
The communities accepted the project and recognized their need for assistance. Therefore, they solicited a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in order to guide them in the planning and construction process.
PCV Arturo “Chitikön” Arzón has been working with the communities for the past year, studying and planning for the relocation of the water source. They plan to build a stream catchment, two break pressure tanks and addition of 1.70 km of tube and a union box to connect the old transmission line to the new transmission line and water source.
By accomplishing this project, the community and the PCV have the objective of obtaining better quality of water and to empower the individuals involved in the project and the communities.
Community involvement has been measured qualitatively by the PCV taking in consideration their participation in different areas of the project, with and with-out the help of the PCV. Before the arrival of the PCV the community took the task of finding a solution to their problem, doing community reunions about the solution and working with governmental agencies to legalize the process. With the arrival of the PCV, PCV and community worked together on the engineering studies, engineering designs and governmental agencies relations. On April 5, 2018 the communities with the help of the PCV deliver a letter of solicitude to MINSA where they requested 183 4 inch diameter tubes for the source relocation and on August 2018 the community received the tubes.
Training on how to maintain the new transmission line will be given by the PCV. Is important to note that the communities already have an aqueduct which they have been able to maintain for over 20 years. Both water committees collected a monthly fee of $1 for household and have shown capabilities of maintaining their current aqueduct and the project. Damages in the current aqueduct are fixed properly and in timely manner. If the operator is not present in the community and there is damage in the distribution line, the community has shown to be capable of fixing the damage. Showing that the responsibility of maintaining the aqueduct does not only lies in the water committees. The community has been able to maintain their current aqueduct for 20 years it is considered that they are going to be able to sustain the new transmission line, because it doesn’t represent a total new infrastructure or concept in the community which they have never been expose to in the past. They already have technical capacities which they have develop by maintaining their current aqueduct and are going to be reinforced by the water seminars and construction.