The reality of water access in rural Colombia

The outlook for water in rural Colombia is discouraging, at least 3 million people living in the Colombian countryside (11,653,673 people) do not have access to basic drinking water services, and more than half are without aqueducts and sewers, equivalent to 28% of Colombia's rural population, according to figures to 2015 from the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory.

In addition, there are currently more than 26 diseases due to the consumption of water in non-optimal conditions for humans, according to the World Health Organization - WHO, which is why it dramatically affects the body causing damage to it and deteriorating health. Among the most common ailments is Acute Diarrhoeal Disease, which, by June 2018, had left 70,348 cases in Colombia.

However, in the midst of this phenomenon, there are international organizations that have been concerned about these realities and hand in hand with a work team they are building new processes to try to change them; such as the Swiss Embassy in Colombia - Humanitarian Aid and Development (COSUDE), which works to ensure that the peripheral communities of the country, without access to water, have an improvement in their quality of life, through access to basic water services suitable for human consumption or by strengthening community processes that already exist and that contribute to access to this resource.

The countryside and its community aqueducts

The communities, through time, have played an important role in changing this reality, building community processes through the aqueducts from a logic of integration of efforts to improve the quality of life of all people living in areas of conflict and without water treatment plants.

ASIR-SABA's contribution to dignified life in Colombia

The ASIR SABA Rural Integral Water and Sanitation Project has promoted sustainable development through communities that have developed local storage initiatives in their territories to improve their quality of life and live with dignity. It is designed to support peace building in contexts of violence, improving infrastructure and aqueduct coverage so that the communities of the beneficiary municipalities have access to a basic drinking water service, whether through a local or secondary distribution network.

Although Colombia is one of the richest countries in water resources, pollution, the gap in water access and poverty contribute to social inequality in the country, finding departments such as Valle del Cauca, Nariño and La Guajira at high risk due to the difficulty in access as well as consumption of this liquid, according to the IRCA Water Quality Risk Index for Human Consumption - of the Environmental Observatory of Bogotá.

These are the reasons why actions such as those of the Swiss Embassy, Humanitarian Aid and Development - SDC with the ASIR-SABA project, are of great importance and value to contribute to diminish the realities that communities live in issues such as access to water, risk management, improvement of their infrastructures, among others.

For this reason, it is important to emphasize that the ASIR-SABA project respects the ancestral processes of the communities and their models of sustainability, in which they are involved to improve and ensure effective decision-making and the selection of water and sanitation technologies that are more appropriate to the contexts of the territory.