Families in the El Coihue sector of Santa Juana have access to drinking water thanks to the “Water Challenge for Chile” program.

During the year 2023, the initiative driven by CMPC allowed 50 families to benefit from rural access to drinking water.

During the year 2023, the initiative driven by CMPC allowed 50 families to benefit from rural access to drinking water.

Margarita Salas, a resident of the El Coihue sector of Santa Juana in the Biobío Region of Chile watched helplessly as the rural fire at the start of the year reduced their family home to rubble. They couldn’t do anything because they didn’t have any water to put it out, the water that various authorities had promised them so many times. That is why they did not hesitate to give the authorization to install the necessary technology on their property to bring drinking water to their neighbors.

“When my house was burned, we didn’t have water and because of the fire we had to escape here to a piece of land that our husband, me and my daughter haven’t left.  When they asked us, my daughter and I came to an agreement, and we immediately responded that we’d like to have water here. I want to ask our neighbors to please enjoy the water, enjoy it, and take care of it. I’m also going to take care of the water because I’m happy to turn on my tap and see it run. It’s so beautiful and absolutely wonderful. I get very emotional because we’ve suffered so much from not having water for so many years. Now, thank God, we have water,” Margarita Salas said excitedly.

“We’ve been waiting 12 years for the completion of this project, so today is the happiest day for my neighbors and for everyone in general. I am grateful to the companies that helped us carry out this project, to CMPC, to Desafío Levantemos Chile and to the municipality of Santa Juana. I’m very happy, extremely pleased. I thought this big day wasn’t going to come, but it’s here and it happened really quickly, faster than I expected,” said Claudia Zambrano, President of the El Cocohue de Santa Juana Water Committee.

A total of 50 families from the El Coihue sector of Santa Juana benefited from this rural drinking water project thanks to the “Water Challenge for Chile” program. The initiative was supported by CMPC and Desafío Levantemos Chile, which has benefited more than 2,000 families in the Regions of Biobío and La Araucanía to date.

CMPC Companies Chairman Luis Felipe Gazitúa said, “Companies like ours, due to the size and influence they have in the places where they operate, must be concerned about the problems affecting the community. The lack of water in rural areas in this region is really very serious, because there no actual shortage of water here. What is lacking is infrastructure, and what we’re doing with our capacity in conjunction with Desafío Levantemos Chile [the Support Chile Challenge] is providing drinking water, building the right infrastructure – in this case – for 50 families, who today will not only have water, they will have dignity.”

“We’ve managed to carry out four water projects with CMPC and Desafío Levantemos Chile. This is important to us because it means being in solidarity with our neighbors. It signifies mutual support, and raises the possibility of continuing to cultivate the land, which is the soul of our territory and our community. We weren;t able to agree on a public-private investment that had never been possible with the State of Chile,” said Ana Albornoz, Santa Juana Mayor.

“The Water for Chile Challenge project continues to grow. More than 2,000 families have benefited from Araucanía to Biobío, and there are many more to come. The drama that is being experienced with drinking water in the rural sectors of the Chile is not common knowledge in Santiago and in the big cities. I think that we’ve already reached 2,000, and we can easily get to 2,000 more in the coming years,” said Ignacio Serrano, Desafío Levantemos Chile Executive Director.

During 2023, 59 projects and measures have been taken in 17 communities in the Regions of Biobío and La Araucanía, positively impacting 2,013 families, which add up to 8,052 people. By 2024, along with continuing with water initiatives for consumption and irrigation, the aim is to incorporate innovation and technology projects to generate initiatives in line with current times and give autonomy to communities in obtaining this vital resource.