Helping older water systems expand
During our site visits over the past few years, we have encountered many older water systems that are functioning very well, but would like to expand their services to more people. In the United States when this happens, utilities are able to access credit, and users pay off these loans for upgrades and expansions through our water bills. This system doesn’t exist in most poor countries. But, our Honduras partner is changing this.
In 2013, we provided a grant to our Honduras partner to legalize a new loan program for local water committees called “Aguas de Congolon.” We also provided some seed capital for them to make their first loan. We are now meeting with water systems to understand their needs, to gauge their willingness to take on loans to pay for their system expansions, and also assess the level of technical support and supervision that might need to accompany the loans.
We met with representatives from the municipality of La Virtud who built a water system 20-years ago the guidance of our partner, COCEPRADIL. At the time it was built, neighboring communities hadn’t seen a piped water system, and didn’t believe the system would actually work. So they didn’t join in the construction. Now they want to join, and current users are paying for an engineering study (from their own savings) to plan the system expansion. Water1st will likely support purchase of materials for the expansion through our Honduras partners’ new loan program, funded by Water1st donors.