4 de april de 2020

Cerrejón and the La Guajira government join forces to deliver water to nearly 300,000 vulnerable people in the department

The government in La Guajira and Cerrejón have joined forces in a coordinated effort to deliver approximately 240,000 litres of drinking water daily to different municipalities in the department during the emergency brought on by COVID-19. The agreement will benefit nearly 300,000 people, one third of the population in the department.

Cerrejón will contribute with water coming from its treatment plants in Puerto Bolívar and at the mine, and by using the company’s Water Train. For its part, the government, who will be responsible for transporting water to communities, has stated that it will allocate 30 tanker trucks for the purpose of distributing water throughout the department during the emergency, and which will thus complement the supply the municipalities are providing locally. This strengthening of water distribution capacity by the government is being carried out due to the healthcare emergency Colombia is experiencing and, as such, this support is conditional on the length of the current crisis.

It is possible to fill up to 15 tanker trucks daily from Cerrejón’s treatment plant in Puerto Bolívar, up to five tanker trucks will depart daily from the plant at the mine, and Cerrejón will provide water to load 10 tanker trucks at various points along the railway line. Delivery of water by train is contingent on there being no blockades on the railway, a situation which has persisted in recent days.

If no unforeseen events arise, more water from the Cerrejón water desalination plant in Puerto Bolivar will be available in approximately one month, which will help manage the peak demand that is expected to deal with this emergency.

This alliance with the government is an additional element of the actions already being taken by Cerrejón. These include providing water to the communities (additional to the water distributed regularly by the company), the delivery of medical supplies to local hospitals, including 15,000 masks and 350 protective suits to local healthcare professionals for 2,000 million pesos ($475,429 USD), logistical support to local authorities for food delivery, the support to the creation of a network of doctors in La Guajira to provide support when required, and the launch of a campaign to collect funds from Cerrejón employees and Pastoral Social from the Catholic Church to purchase and distribute foodstuffs and hygiene kits to the most vulnerable communities.