Caño de Loro
Water distribution in Caño de Loro (credit: FEM)

In Caño de Loro, a village on the island of Tierra Bomba located off the mainland of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia, there is no provision of drinking water supply. Much of the water for human consumption is transported by sea from the mainland of Cartagena by private providers. Once on the island, it is distributed by motorcars and purchased by residents in containers such as cans and buckets. Providers do not ensure compliance with health standards related to water treatment, storage and distribution, which exposes the inhabitants to health risk. Samples taken at various points in the island’s supply chain showed high levels of coliforms and pathogens unacceptable for consumption. In addition, this water supply program is expensive, costing up to one third of the minimum wage for a family of six. Thus, residents are paying high prices for a vital liquid that is making them sick. Moreover, pollution from the surrounding waters and mangroves as well as the needs in terms of management of solid waste, gray water and sewage, play witness to the pressing needs of the health and well-being of the inhabitants of Caño de Loro. The goal of this EWB program is to seek alternative solutions for drinking water access, storage, purification and reuse in the village of Caño de Loro.

We are partnering with Fundación para la Educación Multidimensional (FEM) on this project. The project leaders visited the community in late February 2017, where they assessed the community and gathered technical data. Currently, the EWB Colombia team is compiling all of the data and preparing a comprehensive report of possible solutions for the community. The team plans to return to Colombia in August to present this report to Caño and move towards implementation of a system.

We are always looking for volunteers, so if you are interested in helping, please don’t hesitate to contact the project leaders at colombia@ewbboston.org.