Helping with upgrading a water system in an indigenous community of the Emberá to provide clean water for 80 people living in the Panamanian jungle. 

Project: Installation of upgrades to the water system in an Emberá village

The Emberá tribe is one of the biggest indigenous group in Panama. In the province of Colon, Panama, we work with a village called El Progreso, which consists of approximately 80 members from the Emberá tribe and is located on Panama’s Caribbean coast. For the last year, we have been working hand in hand with the community in order to help them improve their living conditions, while working to preserve their cultural identity, all while respecting the environment.

A few years ago, the members of the Emberá community installed a gravity-fed water system to bring water from a river directly to the village (a distance of 5 km), avoiding exhausting daily trips for them to collect water. Due to the fact that the river being in the middle of the jungle, the pipes often get clogged with each storm. Also, since this system does not treat the water for bacteria and parasites, the village members must boil it before each use, which often does not happen, so many villagers are sick often. 
This project of installing a new system that is better suited for their environment will not only get rid of the issue of having to unclog the pipes after every storm, it will bring clean water to the people of the village.

The water system will be realized in four phases: 

1.    The installation of a filtration system on the entrance side of the system, covered and storm resistant.
For the first phase, we will go right to the source, in the jungle, for a duration of three days. We will be accompanied by a local guide and we’ll camp near the source which is about 5km away from the village. 

2.    Once that part is installed, we will return to the community to install several water tanks at the water’s point of arrival, which is located next to the school of the community, at the entrance of the village. 

3.    Once the water tanks are constructed, we will work on the installation of an efficient water filter for the village, to have a second filtration system for more potable water.
For many years, technologies in terms of water filters haven’t stop improving and we opted for a three stages filtration system. The first one holds the dirt and the sand, the second one the smallest particles, and the third eliminates bacteria and parasites.

4.    The fourth and last phase will be to extend the water-inlet to the most remote areas of the village so each members of the tribe can benefit and access clean water.