April 14, 2016

Traditional water ponds (jagüeyes), sources of life for the Wayuu communities

Traditional water ponds (jagüeyes) are a Wayuu means of capturing, storing, and distributing rainwater and are primarily used in periods of prolonged drought. The main uses of this water is for farming and livestock.

Cerrejón and our Water Foundation delivered three jagüeyes to the communities of Jararalu’u (in Media Luna) and Casia (km 137 of the railway corridor) for the direct use of over 250 people. The communities of Casa Blanca, Youlerü, Choretchon, Lechemana, Etkimana, and Loma Fresca will also benefit from these systems. “Cerrejón feels it is crucial to continue forging partnerships with these communities to promote access to water and prepare them for the upcoming rainy season. Our strategy is based on undertaking projects rooted in Wayuu traditions and customs to provide access to water for people,” states Eduardo Lozano, manager of Cerrejón’s Department of Social Responsibility.

This social investment was made possible with funds of COP 135 million for the construction. It comprises three storage systems: one jagüey (traditional water pond) for human consumption with a capacity of 20,000 m 3 and a SkyHydrant (ultrafiltration system) and another two jagüeyes of 6,000 m 3 for farming and livestock use.

Complementary works for the jagüeyes include a sand trap, animal trough, and a fencing enclosure. “I ask Male’iwa (God of the Wayuu) to send juya’a (rain) soon to fill the jagüey so the animals have water to drink and the yuja (traditional garden) can provide us with food,” comments Mojuten Epieyu, traditional authority of Casia.

Cerrejón continues working to be an ally and a partner of La Guajira by promoting access to water (especially during the department’s drought) using traditional solutions so communities are supplied with this resource.