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For many communities in Puerto Rico, access to clean water that is safe for human consumption has been a challenge after Hurricane María.
The Harimau Conservation, ‘Rayo de Luna’ (Moonbeam) and Planet Water Foundation organizations, with our support at the Banco Popular Foundation, have installed water purification towers in five schools:
- Emilio Del Torro (San Juan)
- Juanita García Peraza (San Juan)
- Georgina Baquero (Canóvanas)
- José Santos Quiñones (Canóvanas)
- Celso González Villán (Loíza)
The towers are giant purifiers that are filled with water from springs and streams, without using electricity. They can provide water for up to 1,000 people per day.
Clean water access is a crisis that affects the whole world, leading some countries to build wells in order to obtain the liquid. In other places, water can be contaminated, causing diseases and even death if consumed. This scenario drives the Planet Water Foundation to deliver its water purification towers around the world.
The initiative in Puerto Rico was part of the organization’s Project 24, which took place during World Water Day, on March 22. In addition to Puerto Rico, similar activities were carried out in Indonesia, Cambodia, India and the Philippines. A total of 24 water towers were installed in 24 hours in 24 communities.
“We want to help communities have the tools to achieve self-management. Ideally, schools should become community centers, with the necessary resources so that residents can cope with the crisis by helping each other,” said Glenisse Pagán, co-founder of Harimau Conservation.
Community leaders and residents speak out
“This is an important project because we can make our children aware of the proper use of water,” said Lucy Cruz, president of G-8, Inc., an organization that brings together the leadership of eight communities surrounding the Caño Martín Peña in San Juan.
For his part, Mario Núñez, a member of the organization and resident in Las Monjas, said that this project will help communities to be more resilient in the face of the catastrophic effects caused by hurricanes.