Caminos de Agua attended the First National Conference on Rainwater Harvesting

In mid November, two representatives from Caminos de Agua traveled to Guadalajara for the first ever annual Mexican Rainwater Harvesting System Conference (1er Congreso de Captación de Agua de Lluvia).Elena Diek (a former volunteer now working on her master's thesis) and Aaron Krupp (our Research and Technology Development Coordinator) set up a table to promote our educational materials and ceramic water filters. At the table, Elena and Aaron discussed our work at Caminos de Agua with other rainwater harvesting professionals from around the country.

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Leadership and Water

The JWH Initiative recognized staff member Saúl Juárez’s environmental leadership in 2016 with a €2500 prize to be dedicated exclusively to his professional development. The grant submitted solicited funding for Saúl to learn from diverse organizations and the work they do. Saúl reported about the first part of his experiences with partner organizations and trainings in this blogpost earlier in the year. Since then the funds have been used for two more learning experiences. Saúl participated in a one-day workshop with Isla Urban in rainwater harvesting in Mexico City.

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Join our New Campaign: 1 Million Liters of Safe Drinking Water in Mexico

We are launching a new campaign on GlobalGiving. Our previous campaign “Potable Water for 400 in Rural Mexico” surpassed our expectations – we built more than double rainwater harvesting systems than we originally planned. Our new “One Million Liters” campaign will build 85 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems and install a minimum of 250 ceramic water filters – providing more than 1,000 people with safe and healthy water for drinking and cooking. 

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Three New Volunteers Join our Research and Technology Development Team

Caminos de Agua’s Research and Technology Development Team (Tech Team) just got bigger! The Tech Team carries out the research to improve our current technologies as well as design new technologies based on the needs of the communities in our watershed. The research can be tedious – our biochar removal experiments often require 24-hour attention for example – but are solutions that ignite scientists’ and engineers’ imagination and creativity. Recently, we welcomed three new volunteers.

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Newsletter October 2018

Water Quality in Region Worsens
Caminos de Agua consistently monitors the water quality situation in our watershed by testing hundreds of samples from wells and private residences; conducting interviews with community members on water access and tracking our projects. This year’s data (both quantitative and qualitative) makes the case that the situation is more urgent than ever since we are tracking more contaminated wells and water sources than ever. Our interviews reveal new levels of concern and desperation around water scarcity from community members. To address this growing need, Caminos de Agua is undergoing a strategic planning process that will impact every component of the organization.

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Caminos de Agua and Casita Linda join forces

Casita Linda and Caminos de Agua have joined forces to work with the community of Palo Colorado to build six large-scale rainwater harvesting systems in five new homes built by Casita Linda as well as one in the community’s elementary school. The 12,000-liter capacity cisterns, combined with ceramic water filters, ensure that families and students will have access to safe and healthy drinking and cooking water year-round. Last week (02-10 to 06-10), the first system was build at the elementary school.

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Fluoride exposure during pregnancy is linked to lower IQ in children

New and important research done in Mexico with 300 mother-children couples illustrates that fluoride exposure potentially has an even stronger impact on our children before they are born. Fluoride exposure was measured based on the fluoride levels in the urine of the mothers and children over a 12 year period. This study shows average values for urinary fluoride in the mothers and children of 0.90 mg/L and 0.82 mg/L, respectively (Read an article about the study by CNN here). 

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Disaster Relief and Project Support for Southern Mexico

September brought disaster to southern Mexico in the form of a 8.1 magnitude earthquake and hurricane Katia which destroyed buildings and infrastructure, displaced families, and disrupted water supplies. Our thoughts are particular with the families who lost loved ones.

We are able to place these filters thanks to our relationship with Concern America in Chiapas who distributes our ceramic water filters as part of their clean water programming. 

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Gravel, sand, and charcoal: Learning how to build high-quality, low-cost water treatment systems

Last month, a diverse group came together at Caminos de Agua's field site for a three-day water-filter-construction workshop. Participants came from the north (Chihuahua) and south (Chiapas) and from near (San Miguel, Mexico City) and far (the US, Colombia). The group included water professionals, farmers, architects, engineers, tradespeople, NGO workers, students, and many, many water enthusiasts. The participants showed up on Tuesday morning energized and excited to learn about biochar.

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Summer Course 2017: Sustainable Technologies in Action

Twelve engineers, development professionals, and students joined our two-week summer course - 2017 sustainable technologies in action - this year. In its fourth edition, the course grew out of CATIS Mexico’s vision to connect others to a broad array of sustainable technologies. While we have sharpened our focus on water solutions, we maintained our commitment to inspiring the next generation of changemakers in environmental solution seekers by partnering with IRRI Mexico on this summer course.
 

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Fluoride Removal Research: We are Now Closer than ever to a Fluoride Filter System

As many of our supporters know, the Independence Aquifer region in Central Mexico where Caminos de Agua works is in a permanent state of decline and contaminated with dangerous levels of naturally-occurring arsenic and fluoride, which is leading to irreversible health impacts on long-term users. Our rainwater harvesting work represents our ongoing projects that directly impact communities suffering from these issues, and we continue to expand and grow our rainwater program. However, rainwater harvesting has a large upfront cost and requires a lot of labor – up to 200 hours per system in most cases – and there are tens of thousands of people in this region alone that need immediate solutions.

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What do Chiapas, Popular Education and Saul Juarez have in Common?

These are the words of Saul reflecting on his trip to Chiapas as part of his JWH Initiative Leadership prize.

"Last year, I was fortunate to be awarded a grant from the JWH Initiative, which would be destined to continue training me in different aspects that will allow me to better perform the work that I have been doing for some years- mainly with people living in the rural communities of this region on water and other environmental issues."

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On Our Way to One Million Liters of Safe and Healthy Drinking Water!

This report was written originally for our Globalgiving campaign. To date, we have raised $23,434 raised of our $31,060 goal.

Dear GlobalGiving Supporters, This is a big update for us!  We ended 2016 with a major push on our GlobalGiving Campaign, and thanks to your support, combined with a very generous match by the Gates Foundation, we were able to bring in nearly $8,000 to continue this rainwater harvesting work.

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Local high schoolers get their hands dirty learning about water issues

Caminos de Agua recently completed a two-week educational module with 99 students at CBTis No. 60 School in San Miguel de Allende. The program included theoretical and practical components. First, the students spent three days in the classroom learning about local water issues. This multidisciplinary module comprised of lectures with practical case studies and an engaging play performed by local theatre group, Teatro Despierto. During the second week, the students constructed a rainwater harvesting cistern next to the classroom. By the final day, many of the students felt motivated to spread the word on the issues they had learned about and driven to work towards finding solutions.

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