In 2008, WEFTA was asked by the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to do a study in the town of San Cayetano of a water system involving pumping water through 23 kilometers of pipe that had been installed by the Colombian government in the late 1990s at a cost of over $1 million but had never been fully functional.
To see water and sanitation facts, please visit: washfunders.org
Although Colombia has seen economic growth in the past few years, as well as an easing in the decades-long internal conflict between the Colombian government and the rebel forces, still 37% of the population lives below the poverty line. In rural areas 28% of the population has no access to improved water sources and the same percentage lack improved sanitation.
For San Cayetano, WEFTA researched the option of digging a well for the town’s 9,000 inhabitants but discarded the idea due to the lack of an aquifer to tap into. Given the fact that the area receives abundant rainfall, we are considering placing of a dam across a valley above the town in which to catch and accumulate rainfall and then distribute it to the town through a gravity fed system.
Following a visit in February 2012 by a WEFTA volunteer expert Andrew Robertson, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and the local development commission, the Corporation for Solidarity Development, have agreed that LWR will pay for the remainder of an engineering feasibility study for the gravity-fed water supply alternative and a comparative study between the gravity-fed and pump-fed alternatives to determine the best course to follow to bring safe and sustainable water to this town which continues to gather water wherever available and suffer the consequences of using potentially disease-inducing water. Andrew has done several evaluations of past and future projects for LWR and other nonprofits, including CDS (Corporación de Desarollo Solidario): Donating technical expertise to organizations with goals similar to ours but who have no water engineers on staff is always a pleasure for WEFTA.
Every time one we send a crew on a trip to either help or assess a community, we ask our volunteers to write a trip report that details the trip through their eyes. These documents will give you both a look into what it is like being a volunteer and a different perspective on our efforts to help communities. The photo-based reports redirect you to our Google+ photo albums.
Click here to go to our page with supporting documents for 2012 San Cayetano Trip Report
Click here to see photos of the San Cayetano trip.
Click here to see a statistical summary (PDF) of our projects in all countries as of 2013.