August 10, 2016

238 indigenous communities neighbouring the railway line benefited from the delivery of water storage tanks

Since a state of emergency was declared in 2014 due to the drought in the department of La Guajira, Cerrejón and our foundations system started distributing water tanks to address storage needs in 238 communities in Uribia, Maicao, and Manaure. To date, a total of 1,643 tanks have been given away.

Every morning at 5 am, Lilia Jusayú gets up to make her coffee and energetically start on her household chores. This woman, mother, and housewife is a member of the community of Serruptian, at km 56 of the railroad tracks. This is one of the communities that has suffered from the lack of rainfall in La Guajira.

Lilia had to walk for hours every day to find water and store it in buckets since she did not have a storage system. In fact, she had to travel to the community traditional water reservoir (jagüey) up to three times a day for water for her family and the household chores.

“I have benefited a great deal from the tank delivery. We needed them to hold water and store it in our house.
Before I had to carry water and get it every day from the reservoir (jagüey), but now I can store it in my tanks for much longer,” stated Lilia. She has benefited from this initiative, the Water Train program the Company has run since 2014, and the repair of the windmill-driven water pump in her community. See a related news item here: The water train carries welfare to the communities.

The tanks have a capacity of 500, 1,000, and 5,000 litres, which allows communities to store the wáter distributed by Cerrejón, capture rainfall, or accumulate water captured by other methods. The water stored in the tanks is used by the community to drink, cook, clean, and bathe.

“Cerrejón has changed my life because it has helped me a lot with the tank delivery. I could say I still want many things, but for me this is a great help. I feel grateful, because whenever I ask the company for help, they always respond,” stated the beneficiary.

Cerrejón has kept its commitment to use water responsibly in our operation and to contribute to searching for supply solutions for the communities neighbouring our operations. Therefore, in 2008 we created the Cerrejón Foundation for Water in La Guajira, which is dedicated solely to working on the protection of watersheds, seeking supply solutions, promoting water governance, and seeking partnerships to leverage sustainable solutions.