The Clean Water Initiative

Accessible, clean water in Quezalguaque has been a very important Sister City initiative from 2017  right up to the present.  When we did the needs assessment of seven  community rural water systems in 2017, we found that many things weren’t working. Chlorination systems weren’t functioning, seals and screens on wells and water storage tanks were missing, electrical service to the pumps was spotty, equipment was broken or in ill repair. Consequently, water quality was not up to standard and water quantity was insufficient for the population’s needs.  Much of this was due to the lack of training and support for the local water committees who manage the systems and the lack of financial resources for water system maintenance.

The water improvement coalition that was  established at the onset of the initiative has been critical,  to first diagnose the problems there and then  implement improvements. Members of the coalition include: 1) the Quezalguaque municipal government (the mayor and staff from the municipal government’s project unit and the water and sanitation unit); 2) the local water system managers; 3) Nicaraguan professionals  and organizations on the ground— especially ECODES, a Spanish NGO working in Nicaragua, with an office in Leon and with extensive expertise in rural water systems;  and CISTA, a research center at  the National Autonomous University in Leon, specializing in water quality, among other areas; 4) the Rotary Club of Brookline; 5) the Metropolitan Rotary Club of Leon; and  6) Sister City and Sister City volunteers, two of whom are water experts. To support the this initiative, we have raised funds from generous donors in Brookline, applied for and won a Global Rotary Club grant and worked with ECODES to leverage other grants.