Rainwater harvesting brings hope to Central America’s dry corridor

One of the rainwater harvesting systems installed in rural areas of eastern El Salvador, in the arid corridor of Central America. It relies on a system of pipes and gutters that run from the roof to a plastic bag in a rectangular hole dug in the yard. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala / IPS
  • By Edgardo AyalaSan Salvador)
  • Inter press service

Lack of water in the dry corridor complicates not only basic hygiene and household activities such as bathing, washing clothes or dishes, but also agriculture and food production.

“It’s a very difficult place to live because of the lack of water,” said Marlene Carballo, a 23-year-old Salvadoran farmer from the canton of Jocot Dulce, a rural settlement in the municipality of Chinameca in the eastern department of El Salvador. From San Miguel.

The municipality is one of 144 in the country located in the Dry Corridor, where more than 73 percent of the rural population lives in poverty and 7.1 million suffer from severe food insecurity, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). )

However, the poor rural areas did not remain idle.

Water scarcity has prompted community leaders, especially women who suffer from scarcity, to organize into village associations to promote water projects.

Projects to support the development of rainwater harvesting, reforestation and small poultry farms in various villages of Jocote Dulce have arrived with the support of local and international organizations and funding from European countries.

Rainwater harvesting is based on systems like the one installed in Carballo’s house; when it rains, the water falling on the roof passes through a pipe to a huge waterproof bag in the courtyard, which acts as a catchment tank, which can hold up to 80,000 liters;

Other mechanisms also include plastic-lined rectangular holes that arc into the ground.

Harvested water is used to irrigate family gardens, provide water for livestock used in food production such as cows, oxen and horses, and even for aquaculture.

Similar projects have been implemented in other Central American countries that form part of the Dry Corridor.

In Guatemala, for example, FAO and other organizations have benefited 5,416 families in 80 rural communities in two departments of the country.

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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