Easton-based Aguayuda Co-founders Travel to Costa Rica To Implement Needed Clean Water Solution

Aguayuda co-founders Sabrina Zimmermann and Simón Zimmer traveled for the second time to Barra del Colorado, Costa Rica, to work with local residents to install three rain-harvesting systems.

Located between the Caribbean Sea and the river Colorado contaminated by the chemicals used in pineapple and banana plantations 5 miles upstream, the community of Barra del Colorado suffered from water-related illnesses that stemmed from their multifaceted lack of access to clean water. In addition to the chemical contamination, the groundwater has a dangerously high amount of metal content due to Barra del Colorado’s location over an electrical appliance landfill.

The rain-harvesting systems provide the 320 residents with sustainable and eco-friendly access to an independent clean water source: the 230 inches of rain that Barra del Colorado receives annually. As a comparison, the annual precipitation in Maryland is 45 inches, one fifth of the precipitation in Barra del Colorado. With the help of community members, Aguayuda installed the rain catchment and storage systems at the local kindergarten, the community church, and a residence. The centralized locations allow the community to conveniently access the clean water from the three systems.

In the upcoming year, Aguayuda will remain devoted to fundraising endeavors with the goal of expanding the rain harvesting system in Barra del Colorado. Moreover, in addition to the organization’s presence in Costa Rica, Aguayuda will be implementing rain harvesting systems, windmill, solar pump and dry latrine projects in Colombia, South America.

The trip to Barra del Colorado was financially and technically supported by individual donors as well as private companies such as Rain Harvesting based in Australia, and EcoTank and Agua Solutions based in Costa Rica. Aguayuda always uses local subcontractors to implement the project, which supports the local economy and provides a nearby technical support if required.

About Aguayuda
An Easton, Maryland-based 501(c)(3) public charity, Aguayuda was founded in 2006 with the mission to improve life and health in poor rural communities through clean water and education.

In our approach, the first step to improving life and health is to provide the community with a customized clean water solution. We start with an on-site visit to assess the local population’s needs and current water situation. Then we install the most appropriate, cost-effective, easy-to-maintain and sustainable water equipment together with the community. Aguayuda’s technical solutions include wells, windmills, solar pumps, water distribution systems, composting latrines, and wastewater treatment systems.

Each community has a different set of factors that prevent them from accessing clean water. Some might have a well but find the water too salty or contaminated to be drinkable; another community may rely on a river that has been contaminated by agricultural runoff. All too often a water well in a community will lack an efficient means of retrieving the water. By selecting a solution that addresses the individual issues that a community faces, Aguayuda solutions are highly effective. There are no one-size-fits all solutions in this work.

To ensure sustainability, Aguayuda teaches a local water committee on the operation and maintenance of the equipment involved in our selected solution. Aguayuda also trains local education committees so they can educate residents on health topics that complement the water projects. These include water education, waste management, HIV/AIDS prevention, and drug abuse prevention using educational manuals created by Aguayuda. Aguayuda truly values the individual personality of each community it serves as it seeks to enhance economic stability by providing environmentally friendly solutions.

As a result of the Millennium Development Goal 7 Target C, around 500 million more people who previously lacked access to clean water, now have access to this vital resource. However, there are still 884 million people who still lack access to this basic human right. Inadequate water resources result in waterborne illnesses, lost time spent searching for daily water needs, and premature death. There are ways to combat this problem, and the knowledge of regionally appropriate solutions will allow progressive international water relief organizations to provide a long-lasting and effective water source to communities in need. Thanks to excellent support from many wonderful people from the United States, Germany and Colombia, among other countries, Aguayuda has helped 3,900 people gain access to clean water.

To learn more about Aguayuda and how to get involved in solving the worldwide water crisis, please visit www.aguayuda.org.