April 9, 2021

Seventeen families in the José Cayuman de Lumaco community in the Region of La Araucanía now have a new everyday reality. They benefitted from the first stage of the “Water for Chile Challenge” project, an initiative spearheaded by CMPC along with Desafío Levantemos Chile in rural areas of the Region of Biobío and La Araucanía.   

Understanding the degree of water shortage or ultimately living without access to it is hard to imagine when living in a city connected to basic services. But where there isn’t any on hand, the only options are to capture it from watersheds if available or to wait for the water tanker truck. 

In light of this harsh reality experienced in the rural world, the Water for Chile Challenge project was created with the spirit and conviction that projects can be implemented in the short term to provide solutions that can change the quality of life of around 200 families that are part of the rural world. 

“It’s much more difficult not having water when you have young children. A lot of time is wasted collecting water and you have to pay attention to the kids at the same time. Everything is more complicated without water including bathing children, cleaning the house, washing clothes and making food,” said Rosa Leviqueo member of the community.

However, she added, “Now we have good quality water supplied to everyone in the community, which also means I can grow fruits and vegetables at home. Everything will be much cleaner, too. Truly, this is excellent for all of us who didn’t have water before.” 

Delia Vega is from a community in Lautaro and moved to the José Cayuman community with her husband. The shortage of water there was nothing new since it’s exactly the same in the area she’s from. 

“I used to go out and get water in a bucket to bring it home so I could cook. We used to go to the river to wash clothes since we didn’t have any water. You waste a lot of time doing that and carrying those buckets takes a lot of strength. The men are always working outside of the house, so us ladies have to get the water and find a way to manage everything. Now I’m happy because we have clean water in our own home,” said Delia while watering her ornamental plants with a hose. 

Dialogue served as the bridge that made this nearly impossible dream a reality for the José Cayuman de Lumaco community, which has been waiting for years for a solution, said 

Francisco Cayuman, one of the beneficiaries who worked on the project itself. He gets emotional when he looks at the water pouring into the tanks where it gets purified, a dream come true.

“Living without water is really hard. You can’t have a home garden, and it’s really difficult for the women. Having water at home now is excellent because we have it in the kitchen, bathroom and shower. It’s clean water, and having it in our homes is a huge step forward. We are going to protect the water for the future of our children and grandchildren. Water is a resource that must be protected and used rationally,” added Cayuman. 

Marcelo Colil is a representative of the 17 families in the José Cayuman community who is thankful for this initiative that is already changing the quality of life. “We have been waiting years for them to approve an APR [rural potable water in Spanish] and nothing happens. With this project it only took 20 days and we have clean, fresh water in our house. So we as CMPC neighbors are very thankful because this company gave us this project, which is very important to us. I’m very happy because my people, my friends and neighbors can begin building home gardens and greenhouses again. I spoke with one neighbor who is happy about the water because this project was done very quickly, and within a few weeks we had water in our houses.”

The José Cayuman community is located in the Lumaco municipality connected by a public road to the Calcoy area where the community is situated. The first stage of the Water for Chile Challenge project benefitted 17 families. The second stage will benefit 15 more families in this community.