“We are happy, because now, we are drinking pure water”

 

Silvio holds a sample of the drinking water before the chlorination system was installed

 

La Venada No. 2, also knowns as La Venada Arriba, is a rural community of San Carlos municipality – Río San Juan, located approximately 27 kilometers from the city.

In 2001, the Water, Sanitation and Community Organization Program (known locally as PASOC) installed a gravity-based water system in the community to ensure the community had a regular supply of water, and they’ve been drinking this untreated water ever since.


Silvio, president of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Committee (CAPS) of La Venada N ° 2, shared his concerns about the health of his community after consuming contaminated drinking water for the past fifteen years with Self-Help’s clean water technician, Orlando, and asked Orlando to teach community members about the importance of treating drinking water to prevent waterborne diseases.

So in February 2017, Orlando visited the community to carry out a water quality test. He took the water sample directly from the faucet in Holman’s home.

water sample from the community of La Venada No. 2

“It was very surprising for me to know, and to see with my own eyes that the water was contaminated,” Holman reported. “Orlando came to take the water sample from the water I drink from my home each day. He left me a sample so I could watch over it and observe the changes it would make. It was shocking for me to see that the water became dark and smelly, it is hard for me to believe that when we think that we are drinking clean water, just because its look clear it doesn’t mean the its really safe to drink it.  It may have great contamination, but until we saw the change that happens when the test is done in the plastic bag, we didn’t know it.”

“I remember that this test was done at the beginning of last year,” recounts Clean Water Committee (CAPS) president Silvio. “After we saw the results, we [some clean water committee members] met to address the issue of the water pollution, but it took a few months for us to mobilize to acquire the CTI-8 chlorinator system since many of our leaders had traveled to work in Costa Rica for an extended time, and we had to way until they finally came back.  Then we all met as an entire clean water committee (CAPS), and after meeting, we called Orlando, and he came to the community in August 2017 to inspect the water storage tank and study the possibility of installing the CTI-8 chlorinator to purify the water. Thank God, in November 2017, it was possible to install the CTI-8 chlorinator, inside the water distribution tank. Currently, we have 65 households that are benefitting, meaning that 390 people who live in the community and get their water from this tank are all drinking purified water each day, ever since the day we got the CTI-8 chlorinator.”

Installing the CTI-8 Chlorinator and training the CAPS president Silvio on the management of the CTI-8 equipment.

“It is very important to learn how to purify the water with the use of the chlorine tablets,” Silvio continued. “Orlando explained to me how to do it, and to take measures to know how much chlorine is in the water so that it can eliminate the microbes that contaminate it. Now, I feel more confident that we are really getting treated water and that our community will have fewer waterborne issues.”

In just the few months since the system was installed, already the community has seen a difference in the quality of health in their community.  Brenda, 39 years old, shared the impact on her family of five, saying, “We give thanks to God that we have had not diarrhea since the CTI-8 Chlorinator was installed. I feel better and more satisfied because now we don’t get sick because of the water.”

Likewise, Digna, 34 years old, shared that she could already tell the difference in their health, saying, “I could tell immediately when the CAPS members started treating the water with this CTI-8 Chlorinator and the chlorine tablets. Although I don’t like the taste as much as before because I was used to how it tasted without chlorine, I know that we all need to get used to it, because it is for the good of our health.”

Brenda with her family as she speaks to Self-Help about how the clean water has helped her family

Since 2001, the fee has been about 0.30 cents per month to get running water service. When the chlorinator was installed, the community raised the fee to about 0.40 cents per house per month, but after doing the math on the cost of chlorine tablets and the rate of use, the CAPS directors are proposing that the new water service rate should be around 0.66 cents per month to ensure they have enough money to purchase the chlorine tablets and maintain the water system each month.

When asked about the cost of the water, Brenda replied, “Since last November, we have seen that the water is being chlorinated by the CAPS. Since we are a farming community, we usually pay for water access at harvest time. Now that it’s being chlorinated, we pay a little more to cover the chlorine tablets and maintenance, but that’s ok, because we have our health.”

Silvio grinning as he shares with the SHI Clean Water Officer the impact of the clean water now in his community of La Venada No. 2

Silvio, president of the CAPS, added, “We are happy, because now, we are drinking purified water.” He acknowledged that there have been some challenges since some people still aren’t used to the taste of the chlorinated water and others didn’t want to spend any more money to keep the water clean, but insisted that as the time passes by, he’s confident every community member will understand the importance of chlorinating the water and will help the CAPS leaders with whatever is necessary for the good of the community.