Water for Chile Challenge: Over 2,000 rural families in the Regions of Biobío and La Araucanía of Chile have seen their dream of potable water at home come true

Driven by Desafío Levantemos Chile [the Support Chile Challenge] and CMPC, this project facilitates water access in the home for human consumption and productive development activities.

Four years after launching the Desafío Agua para Chile [Water for Chile Challenge], a project developed by Desafío Levantemos Chile and CMPC, more than 8,000 people in rural areas of the Regions of La Araucanía and Biobío of Chile now have water access at home. 

Data from the last national census of 2017 indicate that 47% of the rural population in Chile (approximately 300,000 families) do not have a formal water connection, so the only solution is to collect water from wells, rivers, springs, and estuaries or get it from cistern trucks. Faced with this scenario, the Water for Chile Challenge organization set its sights on delivering water for domestic use like human consumption and irrigation as well as improving and repairing wells and RDW (Rural Drinking Water Systems). 

CMPC and Desafío Levantemos Chile met on Tuesday, October 24 with the aim of inaugurating a new water project for human consumption, benefiting 15 families from the community of Pedro Colipí in the Collipulli District  of the Araucanía Region of Chile to help combat the water crisis and end the gap in access to water in rural communities around the country.

“This project is one of the best examples of how we can successfully achieve ambitious goals by working together. We were able to provide thousands of families access to this essential service, showing the great commitment of CMPC and Desafío Levantemos Chile. We are happy with the result and reiterate our commitment to help bridge the gap in access to water, focusing on the communities that need it most,” said Desafío Levantemos Chile Executive Director Ignacio Serrano.

“Unfortunately, our water shortage here in the Collipulli District of the Araucanía Region in Chile is very serious. That is why these days the municipal water tank truck is not enough to supply the water needed by our neighbors in the area. So the work they’ve done with these families to support them with this water project and digging deep wells has been very meaningful, a great challenge taken on jointly with the municipal district. Once again, we would like to deeply thank the management and commitment of all CMPC staff to the Collipulli community,” said Manuel Macaya, Collipulli Mayor.

“This is obviously a very important and truly joyful occasion for the community, but for us too, because having the chance to improve the life of a whole community in the territories where we operate is a unique opportunity to show that companies like CMPC can go above and beyond our usual contribution, which is often just providing jobs. We can also be agents of development for the communities neighboring our operations,” said CMPC Companies Chairman Luis Felipe Gazitúa.

The Pedro Colipí community now has potable water at home

The 15 beneficiary families of the Pedro Colipí community of the Collipulli District in the Araucanía Region of Chile were grateful for the new stage of life they’re embarking on, thanks to the project that’s enabled them to break their dependence on water tanker trucks. From now on, they can count on having this resource at home. 

Carolina Leiva, a representative of the Pedro Colipí community, expressed her happiness about this initiative, helping to change the quality of life of the families living in the community. “I am very happy, very excited, because we’ve gone so many years without water. We had to bring bottled water, and now having this achievement here at home makes me very excited. Almost everyone around here has small children, and they always need to be bathed, as do the elderly. Older adults in particular need to have water at hand that is much more convenient and accessible to do their washing up and everything else.” 

Meanwhile, Luis Luna, President of the Araucanía Norte Collective, which includes six communities in the Region of La Araucanía, praised this initiative that fulfills the dream of the families in the community. “This afternoon has been very exciting. It’s a dream come true for us, to be able to have our water at home, up in the hills where we never thought it could reach. The biggest impact is that they won’t have to carry around water in vehicles or bottles. Now they can simply turn on the faucet and water will flow. It’s a blessing for us.” 

Current status and remaining challenges

CMPC and Desafío Levantemos Chile reiterated their commitment to the project for the remainder of 2023 and all of 2024, with the aim of continuing to combat the water crisis and close the gap in access to water in rural communities of the country.

During 2023, 59 projects and measures have been taken in 17 communities in the Regions of Biobío and La Araucanía, positively impacting 2013 families, which add up to 8,052 people benefiting from a total investment of CLP 2,826,929,869. The 2024 budget is about CLP 2.1 billion for consumption and irrigation projects expected to benefit roughly 2,000 more people. The challenge is to incorporate innovation and technology projects to generate initiatives in line with the current times and give communities the autonomy to obtain this vital resource.