1- Secures safe water systems to indigenous communities of Reserva Pilon (Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve & Indigenous Territory).
2- Situated where the Bolivian Amazon meets the Andes, Reserva Pilón connects to Parque Nacional Madidi (Madidi National Park), one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet.
3- Indigenous Moseten, Tsimane, Tacana and Leco residents inhabit 22 communities in the reserve.
4- Focus on 12 villages which lack safe water.
5- Each community goes through a process of five stages: (1) health education, (2) bio-sand filters, (3) health promoters, (4) water committee and (5) water system.
6- Local residents provide labor and local materials while partners contribute toward other materials, transportation costs, technical assistance and training.
7- This effort is the collaborative initiative of international organizations Amazon Fund International, Aliamos, Circle of Hearts, AguaTuya and Plastiforte.
8- The pilot project was completed in January 2011 in the Moseten village of San Luis Grande.
The Problem. The majority of communities do not have access to a safe water system, which is detrimental, not only for the diseases carried but also by the lack of opportunity to enter the tourist market to generate sustainable income. A great percentage of the inhabitants are of scarce resources, due to generating little economic income from their activities.
The Objectives. The project aims to (a) implement safe water systems in the 12 communities which lack them, in order to (b) improve the health of indigenous residents, (c) reduce the time to obtain safe water, providing them time for more beneficial activities such as farming and education, and (d) provide an infrastructure to offer a tourist service, creating viable and sustainable income.
Water systems and materials. Each system typically includes (1) the catchment, (2) the matrix, (3) the network, (4) the faucets and (5) the drains. High-quality, environmentally-friendly materials are (1) resistant to impact and pressure, (2) quick to install, (3) flexible and lightweight, (4) better joints, (5) 50-year life, (6) resistant to corrosion and (7) safe for health and the environment.
Communities. Roughly 1000 persons of 140 families reside in these 12 communities. Indigenous residents dedicate their time to fishing, hunting and agriculture, cultivating mainly rice, corn, yucca and sugarcane, as well as collecting and selling the Jatata palm used for roofing. Tourism and handicrafts are relatively new sources of income. The 8 villages along the rio Quiquibey include Motacusal, Bolson, San Luis Grande, San Luis Chico, San Bernardo, Corte, Bisal and Gredal. Along the rio Beni are situated the 4 villages of Muchanes, Charque, Embocada and Sani.
Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve. Pilón Lajas is of international importance as recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. The reserve aims to conserve the cultural values and traditions of the indigenous communities while making conservation and development goals compatible. It is an important reservoir of water, and is known for high floral diversity with 2,000 – 3,000 species of plants, as well a protecting at least 497 species of birds, 93 species of amphibians and reptiles and 102 species of fish.