Two communities in Honduras have access to water as a key resource to prevent the COVID-19 spread

The Laguna de Bañaderos and Santa Elena communities in the Manchaguala sub-basin at the Merendon Reserve Zone in Northern Honduras have now access to water.  The main problem that these communities faced was not related to water availability in the area, but rather the lack of an adequate distribution infrastructure to have drinking water in their homes.

WWF with the support of The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) conducted the implementation of a water access project in these two communities.  This was crucial in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow the basic and fundamental actions to prevent the virus spread: constant sanitation and hand-washing practices.

Water access projects have been conducted previously in Honduras, Guatemala and Belize with the support of the Foundation. The main goal is to engage communities in watershed conservation actions, as they understand the link between these actions and the positive impact they cause on water quantity and quality in the long term, that in turn benefit their livelihoods and health.  This approach has proven to be successful, with communities fully involved in conserving the ecosystem in which they depend upon.;

In the case of the project conducted in these two communities, the study that was carried out at the beginning of the project indicated that the existing drinking water systems in the two communities were in a deplorable situation and inefficient. The old systems were built with poor quality materials, undersized and implemented without any technical criteria, and did not provide water in adequate quantity and quality.

The implementation of the project was coordinated by WWF Guatemala / Mesoamerica, with the technical support of a firm specialized in civil engineering.  The communities contributed with labor needed to execute the construction work, under safety measures to reduce risks associated with avoiding the spread of COVID-19.

With the pandemic and due to the measures decreed by the Honduran government the project was initially paused for 30 days.  However, after a month the leaders of both communities requested WWF, in writing, to continue with the implementation and from their side they wouldl  guarantee that the community members collaborating in the project activities would  adopt the biosecurity measures and social distancing during the remaining of the execution phase.  Therefore,  WWF agreed to resume activities, considering a strict bio-security protocol. The new goal was to  complete the project given the importance of water as a vital source of sanitation for the community, especially in face to the actual pandemic.

WWF provided various sanitizing materials and safety equipment, and training was provided to representatives of the communities who participated in the execution of the project. The protocol established that masks should be used at all times, members of the community who presented fever would be sent back home, social distancing of 1.5 meters was imperative, each tool should be sanitized before and after use, adequate waste disposal was required, among others.

The project included the installation of a chlorinator was installed in each community to secure drinking water quality, since it was compromised with coliforms and bacteria. This element guaranteed access to water free of coliforms or bacteria, thus preventing any health risk to the community. An additional element of the project included a a maintenance plan to support the long-term operation of the new water distribution system.

This project provided an efficient drinking water systems, built to last in the long term and with the proper dimensions, which will benefit more than 400 persons (men, women and children) from more than 100 households between the two community members with water in quantity and quality.

Additional facts and figures

Laguna De Bañaderos community
Total population: 255 persons (2019)
•  87 men
•  77 women
•  55 children
•  36 girls
Laguna de Bañaderos is currently formed by 59 households.
Santa Elena community
Total population: 209 persons (2019),
•  60 men
•  52 women
•  56 children
•  41 girls
Santa Elena is currently formed by 54 households.