The project area Alto del Veladero belongs to the municipality of Moro Moro in the Bolivian highlands with widely scattered villages and winding roads that climb the mountain heights between 500 and 3,000 metres.
In the area of the municipality of Alto Veladero, where the project is implemented, there is a water supply network, but there are two major problems:
– Water shortage in the summer months: The Valles Cruceños region has an annual rainfall of about 800 mm, but rainfall is concentrated for only 5 months of the year (from December to April). Outside this period, there is hardly any rainfall and the springs and streams dry out. This forces the community water committees to ration water. When the situation becomes critical, people go up the mountain to far away water sources to fetch water.
– Water pollution: Water comes from springs to which, if they are not fenced, animals come to drink. This leads to contamination by excrements. In addition, there are potato fields near the springs where agrochemicals contaminate the soil, which is another cause of water pollution.
Because of this critical situation, families try to find alternative sources of water or new mechanisms to get enough clean drinking water. For example, the school of Veladero has built some rainwater collection systems. Nevertheless, the rainwater is far from being sufficient, neither for drinking nor for cooking, cleaning or watering the school garden.
The project is intended to help improve access to water for the farming community of Alto Veladero and Sivingalito through the fog harvest with 14 CloudFisher fog collectors. Beneficiaries are the local village population and a (boarding) school. The project also aims to restore the local vegetation.
The project is led by the Basque NGO Zabalketa with its local partner, the Instituto de Capacitación del Oriente (ICO). ICO has an office in Vallegrande, the most important town in Valle Cruceños. Local experts are employed in the construction of the infrastructure. ICO is responsible for the organisation of the work. The Water Committee will also participate in the construction and installation of the fog nets.
As a sign of their interest in the project, the farming community of Alto Veladero participates in the construction work with their own workers. They will organize working days in which the members of the community will take turns to clear the land where the fog nets will be installed and to dig trenches where the pipes will be laid. It is also expected that the teachers and students of the Alto Veladero school will participate (as far as possible) in the construction and installation of the fog nets.
Once the new water infrastructure is operational, the Water Committee and the Alto Veladero Education Committee management will be responsible for the proper functioning of the fog nets. To this end, the project staff will provide training and education on the functioning of the nets and on the regular maintenance operations to be carried out, such as cleaning the gutters and inspecting the hoses and other critical points. This training will include the preparation of a simple operating and maintenance plan to facilitate the performance of these activities in an organised and appropriate manner.
Both the Water Committee and the management of the Education Committee are responsible for ensuring that water use in the community is efficient, that leaks are minimized, waste is avoided, and that drinking water is given priority, especially during the drought months. Although the population of this region is increasingly aware of the importance of caring for this natural resource, it is planned to conduct regular awareness campaigns throughout the region through radio broadcasts and poster campaigns.
Around 370 people will benefit directly from the new fog collector system, students of the primary and secondary school in Veladero, the houses close to the school and the houses in the neighbouring area of Sanguintito as well as farming families living in Sivingalito. In total, there are about 700 more people who benefit directly from the fog water (160 farming families with 4 to 5 members).
The water collected with the new fog-net system is initially used for human consumption (drinking, cooking). Since water shortages occur during the dry season, CloudFisher not only improves water quality, but also ensures quantity and, above all, a continuous and reliable water supply. In addition, if there is enough water left after the basic needs (drinking, cooking and washing) have been met, it will be used to irrigate the vegetable garden at Veladero’s school. The project also promotes, integrates and strengthens local capacities. The improved sense of belonging in the communities will ensure sustainability beyond the end of the project.
Project planning and implementation
aqualonis, Peter Trautwein
Munich Re Foundation
Instituto de Capacitación del Oriente (ICO)