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Water Security in El Carmen

Maria sets down the last jug and wipes her brow. She glances up at the mountainous path and thinks of the 30-minute journey ahead of her. She hoists the heavy jug up and begins her steady walk. The sun has fully risen, and she doesn’t have much time left before work. The jugs she filled today won’t last her for long, but it will be enough water to wash her family’s clothes and bathe for one more day.

The murky river water isn’t clean enough to use for cooking or drinking, though. Maria and her eldest son will have to leave early the next morning to purchase a few liters of water from the nearest town, a two-hour journey on foot. It’s more than they can afford, but their options are limited.

The local well has been out of service for over a month now – longer than usual. Every time the pump breaks, their difficult lives become a little more strenuous. Maria is part of the well’s management team, and she knows this is not sustainable. She can’t go on like this forever. Her community can’t go on like this forever. But, for now, she continues the walk home, carefully steadying the jug as she moves along the rocky path.

Maria’s story is just one of many El Carmen residents working to survive. A new electric water pump could lessen their burden and provide new opportunities in their community.

For over 25 years, in partnership with professional engineers and local community leadership, the Mangrove Association has provided over 14,000 families with access to water and sanitation infrastructure. Inadequate access to a clean, safe water supply deeply affects community health, food security, and the environment. We know that helping communities access clean, reliable sources of drinking water greatly improves the quality of life for communities, and we are dedicated to continuing this work. 

For the small mountain village of El Carmen, a failing water pump threatens the water security of 20 families. The community manages its own water supply, enabling them to have agency and control over this vital resource. El Carmen currently has a clean, high-quality water source from a spring, but the decades-old hydraulic ram pump they use to access it is old and failing.

When the pump breaks, as it does with increasing frequency, the community is forced to gather non-potable water from a nearby river and walk two hours to the nearest town to purchase drinking water. Municipal water service is not available in the area, and even if it were, it is expensive, poor quality, and unreliable.

We can increase the quality of life for rural families, including those in El Carmen, but we need your help. We are working with community leaders and volunteer engineers to develop and implement sustainable water systems that will restore reliable water service to rural communities. With your support, stronger, safer, and healthier communities are possible. Will you support these initiatives with a donation to the Mangrove Association today?

With your support, stronger, safer, and healthier communities are possible.

With gratitude,

José María Argueta
Executive Director
The Mangrove Association