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Woman drinking water from a fountain
Image: Felipe Abondano

Boarding school drinking water

June 5, 2018

Sometimes help comes from unexpected places. In Colombia, a boarding school is providing a local community with drinking water by using equipment designed for ocean desalination.


Clean water for the Wayuu in Colombia

Project aim: Secure drinking water supplies in rural Colombia and prevent disease such as hepatitis A, typhoid/paratyphoid and acute diarrhea.

Project implementation: Decentralized desalination facilities and off-grid solutions for the production of solar and wind power.

Facilities: 250 villagers can be supplied with 10 liters of drinking water every day, cleaned using a reverse osmosis.

Project partners: German development finance institution, DEG, and MFT (Membran-Filtrations-Technik GmbH).

Project costs: €390,400 ($456,000), of which €195,000 comes from the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

A year ago, clean drinking water was a rarity in the village of Wayuu in northeast Colombia. The local population had to order it from costly trucks, and when they didn't have enough money, they had to drink dirty water, which led to sickness and even death.

A solution to the problem was found at a boarding school near the village. Dirty water is now passed through a facility that was originally designed for desalination of seawater, and which is powered by renewable energy. The boarding school also sells the clean water to villagers for a fair price. The rate of illness has fallen rapidly.

A film by Carolina Chimoy


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