January 28, 2016

The Cerrejón Foundation for Water in La Guajira is working innovatively on access to water for communities

The Cerrejón Foundation for Water in La Guajira built a washroom in the pilot house in Pioula in its role as a partner and strategic ally of Cerrejón’s Department of Social Responsibility’s program Housing Construction and Improvement in the communities of Pioula and Piourekat in Media Luna.

The solution was designed by the Foundation’s team in order to meet needs for basic sanitation, efficient water use, and the recycling of water resources. It will be replicated in the 21 houses to be built for 112 people belonging to 27 families in these communities.

“We work daily on designing innovative solutions and strategies allowing communities to access water taking into account their difficulties due to their geographic location and climate factors, as well as keeping in mind their traditions and customs,” stated the Foundation’s director, Raúl Roys.

The sanitation unit has a storage system for grey water from washing clothes, showers, and rainfall capture, which provides the communities with a water supply for discharges into the toilet.

“This sanitation unit has been really useful for my family, the women and children, since now they have a suitable place to take care of their needs. The best part is that we hardly use any water for flushing the toilet because what we use comes from the clothes washing and shower water. That guarantees a healthier environment because no water pools outside,” claims beneficiary Julio Pushaina, traditional authority of the community of Pioula.

Using this system will improve the quality of life of the communities by allowing them to appropriately dispose of solid waste, preventing contamination of the soil and of surface waters and the proliferation of vectors, and ensuring the suitable disposal of grey waters. The project was adapted to the social, climate, and environmental context of these communities, where water is scarce and what there is needs to be used efficiently.

At Cerrejón, we provide innovative ways to optimize community resources, using solutions replicated in other countries that we adapt to the traditions and customs of the Wayuu People for the best application of these solutions.