The Algarrobo Community Aqueduct Inc., in Aibonito, is one of the 242 existing systems in Puerto Rico that are not connected to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). They are managed by community organizations that are responsible for infrastructure maintenance, water quality, administration and billing. They exist for decades and are examples of self-management and community empowerment.
After Hurricane María, the Algarrobo Community AqueductInc. became inoperative. For six months, the community depended on water supply from the Municipality and PRASA. Meanwhile, the aqueduct’s community board, comprising 11 women, began efforts to repair the pumping system, the tank, the storage equipment and the distribution system. Upon learning about the Puerto Rico Community Foundation’s (Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico) initiatives of access to water, they approached the foundation to explore possible support opportunities, which it has received as a donation to strengthen its infrastructure and technical assistance to strengthen its capacities.
Today, the community has a community aqueduct that serves the community well, consisting of 70 families (250 individuals, of which 51% have low and moderate incomes, according to census data).
In addition, the aqueduct complies with regulatory agencies and has a regulation that establishes criteria, process and responsibilities of the board and users.
Now, the group of women aims to achieve another goal through community self-management: connect seven houses to the water system. Due to the distance between houses and their location in relation to the infrastructure of the community aqueduct, there are seven (7) families in the community that are not connected to the aqueduct, so they lack access to drinking water.
These families depend on the water they collect from three (3) nearby springs, which are untreated waters, not suitable for consumption. In addition, they do not have a stable water system and the pressure is low. According to José Santiago, user of one of these three springs, the non-potabl water of these bodies pours into boxes where it accumulates and from there, flows toward the seven homes.
The water flows with little pressure, which makes it difficult to carry out daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and bathing. The situation also causes that sometimes water cannot be simultaneously used by all the houses.
Connection to the 7 houses: $7,316.86
- Excavation $900.00 (If 90 people give $10 = $900)
- Materials $2,365.26 (If 100 people give $23.65 = $2,365)
- Labor $2,000 (If 100 people give $20 = $2,000)
- Concrete $2,051.86 (If 100 people give $20.51 =$2,051)
After that first donation, Puerto Rico Community Foundation is supporting this aqueduct with this crowdfunding for Giving Tuesday 2019.
Puerto Rico Community Foundation mission is to develop the capacities of the communities in Puerto Rico to achieve their social and economic transformation, stimulating philanthropic investment and maximizing the yield of each contribution.