Objective : Rainwater harvesting systems for isolated schools in Chubut Province.
The heart of the Central Patagonian Plateau in Argentina is one of the most difficult geographies in the world, where only 20 mm of rainfall falls each month. The struggling populations that live there also suffer from persistent ash pollution from the 2011 Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic eruption. Water shortages contribute to several diseases due to dehydration and lack of hygiene. This lack of access to water also impacts the education of children, particularly girls, as they are often sent long distances to fetch water instead of attending school. About 25% of the population is illiterate in this remote area.
To help secure the access to water these communities need, the Alstom Foundation is partnering with the Green Cross’ Water for Life and Peace Program’s “Smart Water for Green Schools” initiative. This initiative improves the lives of water basing communities affected by water poverty by providing:
- rainwater harvesting systems on schools for safe drinking water;
- water systems like wells and boreholes;
- ecological sanitation facilities;
- environmental health education.
With the support of the Alstom Foundation and the experience gained from successfully implementing the project in other locations facing similar water and sanitation challenges, the Green Cross, in partnership with the organization Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles (OHTS), will apply this experience in six schools, located near Gan Gan, Gastre and Telsen, in the Chubut Province of the Argentinian Central Patagonian Plateau. Their technical know-how, local knowledge and existing relationships with local communities and authorities, will be key factors to develop this project, which will equip each school with rainwater harvesting systems and ecological latrines. Each of 257 children targeted by the project will receive about 320 litres of water per month for drinking and hygiene.
Providing water and sanitation engages children, their families and other members of the community in improving water security and allows children to become agents of change. These have a direct impact on reducing waterborne diseases and infant mortality rates.