Turn on the Water in Salinas Grande

Turn On The Water 2018 won’t just be the biggest one yet, but our most difficult, too. Here’s the scoop.  

Salinas Grande is a community of over 2,000 people living in 400 homes across six coastal villages. And while the Pacific Ocean makes for a beautiful backdrop, it presents its own challenges. One look around the dry, thorny landscape and you’ll realize that water tops the list.  

The community’s well can’t meet the needs of the people. Five of the villages only have access to water for 2 hours every other day. The people there have to be home and ready when the water turns on, filling buckets and barrels just to make it through until the water comes back on days later. The simple answer seems to be “run the pump more!”, but doing so risks intrusion of salt water into their aquifer due to the well’s close vicinity to the ocean.

It’s an even bigger challenge in the sixth village. These families must either walk up the road to purchase water from their neighbors who are already trying to ration for the next two days, or travel several kilometers inland to fetch water from a hand-pumped well. They must do this for every drop of water that their home uses. Between the financial cost and the wasted time, it’s hard to say which is the bigger factor holding people back.

But there is hope!

You “the SuNica Faithful” have overcome the odds twice before, and by God’s grace we can do it again. It won’t be easy, but we’ve got a roadmap in mind. Here’s what we envision the steps to success look like, and that we’ve built our Turn On The Water budget around.

First, and most importantly, is engaging community leadership. This step has already begun and will continue for the duration of the project and even beyond it a ways. We know that the community is ready to fix this problem and a big organization with some money could simply rebuild the system. But if we’ve learned one thing, it’s that the time and drastic expense are worth it to walk through the potential solutions alongside the community. This will be hard, but our team has been built for this express purpose. We’re ready.

Next up is boosting capacity and getting that sixth village connected. The game plan is to purchase property 4 to 6 kilometers inland where salinity in the groundwater is not a concern. There we’d drill a new well, build two new water tanks, and pipe that water back downhill to Salinas. Pipes from the first water tank would connect into the existing Salinas water system to provide an immediate boost to the capacity. The second tank would be piped straight to the sixth village. It will connect into a new pipe network that the community wll construct, bringing clean water to every home in town.

But this isn’t about our grand plan or what we decide. There are a few different ways to skin the iguana. Turn On The Water is about empowering people and building them up to find their own solution. Our staff in Nicaragua has already started the delicate work of gathering the community together toward this goal.

At that point the community and SuNica will work for alongside each other for the next 18 to 24 months towards the dream of 24/7 clean water piped to every home. Join us on this journey at turnonthewater.org

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