Strengthening Livelihoods in Nine Communities of Villanueva
In the October 2016 newsletter from the Interchurch Center for Social and Theological Studies (CIEETS), they shared the following article about a workshop that was supported by Global Ministries through a grant from Week of Compassion. This article has been translated into English from the original newsletter. To access the full newsletter (Spanish), click here.
Workshop on Constructing Water Reservoirs
On October 1, 2016, the Interchurch Center for Social and Theological Studies (CIEETS) held their first workshop on constructing reservoirs. It was attended by 20 farmers – 13 men and seven women, representing six communities. This is an activity of the Strengthening Livelihoods project, which has been supported by Global Ministries through a grant from Week of Compassion. With this project, CIEETS hopes to contribute to strengthening the livelihoods of families who have been greatly affected by a three-year drought, resulting from the El Niño phenomenon.
The type of reservoir used in this project is plastic coated, a lower-cost item, which reduces water loss through infiltration. Although it is not as efficient or durable as a reservoir coated with concrete, the benefit of the plastic coated reservoir is that the material is much easier to be repaired and replaced by the farmers.
The workshop included the seven steps to constructing and inserting a reservoir. These steps are:
1. Select the appropriate location for the reservoir.
2. Prepare the ground (including cleaning and leveling).
3. Dig the space for the reservoir by forming a slope on the walls in order to avoid the sides collapsing.
4. Smooth the walls and base of the hole, making sure roots and stones are removed. This step will ensure that the coating of the reservoir is not pierced when placed into the hole. CIEETS recommended adding a piece of black plastic for increased durability.
5. Coat the reservoir with the plastic, taking care in the handling.
7. Construct the drainage pathway for discharge, which can be a channel, hose, or pipe to release excess water.
8. Construct a fence around the reservoir to avoid accidents and injuries from people and animals.
At the workshop, an engineer taught participants the technique of how to clean the water in an emergency. This technique uses a Nopal cactus, which serves to filter the water and then the water is disinfected by chlorine. After this process, the water is drinkable.
Participants expressed that both the workshop and the practice of inserting a water reservoir were both very enriching. They conveyed their plans to implement this low cost and beneficial practice in order to capture rainwater for their farms. They also shared that the Nopal cactus exists abundantly in the wilderness, and will plan to use it for water filtration. Each participant made a decision to commit together “to build reservoirs jointly and protect them from animals” and “to promote the work in the community for other farmers to insert reservoirs and to use the Nopal cactus for water filtration.”
CIEETS is aware of the effects of climate change in the region, and they want to empower communities with techniques that are simple, low cost, and, above all, allow families to produce crops. This is the commitment of CIEETS to the region.