GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and FEMA continue leading recovery efforts to support community aqueducts on the island through the Water Coalition.
Established in 2018, this initiative aims to provide safe drinking water to citizens in rural parts of Puerto Rico. Recently, the group met to discuss challenges community aqueducts are facing and propose strategies to overcome them.
“Our problems were heard, and we are being taken into consideration,” said Miriam Matos, representative from ASOCAGUAS Inc., a community-based organization that participates in the Coalition.
During the meeting, solutions such as implementing a data sharing agreement among nongovernment organizations to further enhance community aqueducts and avoid duplication of efforts were presented.
Other initiatives discussed included: empowering communities to manage their aqueduct systems, informing participants on the federal and local grant application process and permit requirements, providing communities with an active role in the sustainability and development of their aqueduct systems and identifying other applicable sources of funding for which communities can apply.
Community aqueducts, which total approximately 240 in the island, are the main source of drinking water to approximately three percent of Puerto Rico’s population.
Participants of the Coalition include the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the American Red Cross, Water Mission International, OXFAM, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico, Por los Nuestros Inc., the Puerto Rico Science and Technology Trust, Bosque Modelo, ASOCAGUAS INC., Resources for Communities and People (RCAP), National Rural Water Association (NRWA), and local universities, such as the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and the University of Puerto Rico.
For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.
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