Press Release

Community adds achievements to self-management and community empowerment

Launch second water tank for the Pedro Calixto Rural Community Aqueduct in Caguas

Caguas, PR, May 6, 2021 | One hundred and eighty families with limited economic resources will have greater security in access to drinking water after the Pedro Calixto Rural Aqueduct, in Caguas, inaugurated today a second storage tank for 40,000 gallons. The construction of the new tank had a philanthropic investment from the Toyota Foundation Fund, administered by Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (FCPR), as well as contributions from the community and the Municipality of Caguas.

The new tank will provide multiple benefits to the community: guarantee a constant service, without interruptions to the drinking water service; strengthen the community’s resilience to an emergency event with a tank that complies with building codes and is earthquake resistant; increase the number of users that are supplied by the aqueduct; and facilitate the development of other community initiatives that require water. Also with the new tank, the community will have greater storage capacity, promoting the efficiency of the system and the proper use of the water resource. It is important to note that in case of emergencies, the Pedro Calixto community will not only guarantee drinking water to its community, but it will also provide drinking water to the surrounding communities, becoming an oasis, as they did after Hurricane María.

“This construction is an example of what is possible through self-management and community empowerment. We embarked on this adventure with vision, determination and search for funds, and we found support in the Toyota Foundation, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico and the Municipality of Caguas. Thank you very much for believing in us and contributing to the development of this project that makes the common welfare possible”, said José Oyola, president of El Aqueducto Rural Pedro Calixto.

The second tank joins other community self-management works carried out by the non-profit organization that include eco-friendly initiatives such as the installation of a solar system in the disinfection plant. In addition, an educational program on the proper use of water and the installation of meters resulted in economic savings and more water.

“The Toyota Foundation Fund is committed to improving the quality of life of the communities by supporting projects that solve environmental problems, and the construction of the tank embraced both purposes,” Saskia Gómez, Public Relations Executive of Toyota of Puerto Rico.

The Pedro Calixto Rural Aqueduct is one of 242 community aqueducts located in 43 municipalities, in remote rural and mountainous areas that supply drinking water to approximately 120,000 people in Puerto Rico. These community self-management initiatives to bring water to their communities are mainly due to the fact that the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) lacks the infrastructure to provide this service to these areas.

“Thanks to the self-management effort that the Borinquen community has been carrying out for more than four decades, the water service is possible. The commitment of the community with the well-being and health of all the residents is admirable. We also highlight the spirit of solidarity evidenced in part by their interest in serving as an oasis for other communities in Caguas. We are honored to have been able to support them with this social justice and equity project, ”said Caguas Mayor, William Miranda Torres.

The new tank required an investment of $ 80,000: Toyota Foundation Fund, $ 30,000, facilitated through the Fundación Comunitaria; Municipality of Caguas, $ 40,000; and community savings, $ 10,000.

“The Pedro Calixto Rural Aqueduct is an example of what can be achieved when community capital is increased, which has been the route we have taken at Fundación Comunitaria to promote social and economic transformation in our communities. The community embraced its self-management and bet on its growth. We are grateful to the Toyota Foundation for the support provided to this project, which is in line with the Water for Us program of the FCPR”, said the president of the FCPR, Dr. Nelson I. Colón Tarrats.

The community organization of the aqueduct has been the catalytic agent to develop other social-community projects such as ISOMOS Coop. (a consumer cooperative with the purpose of promoting local commerce) and the Huele y Sabe a Campo business, a pizza food truck and local dishes made with food harvested by the community. Likewise, they have developed some initiatives on environmental conservation and embellishment of the community’s common areas.

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