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La Vida -New Life Water House

” The school water houses give these children access to clean drinking water every day and they can also fill bottles to take home to their families who cannot afford the cost of filtered water and therefore drink contaminated water.”

Project Co-ordinator: Helen Ilsley
Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Summary

  • New Life Mexico builds and maintains water houses providing clean drinking water for schools in deprived areas.
  • La Vida and the LATA Foundation have jointly funded a new water house in the Ixtapa Primary School which has 485 students.
  • It is the first of four to be constructed in schools in Puerto Vallarta with the Montepelier Foundation funding the other three. Together the four water fountains will be used by over 2,700 children.

Description of Project

La Vida and the LATA Foundation have jointly funded a new water house in the Ixtapa Primary School which has 485 students. It is the first of four to be constructed in schools in Puerto Vallarta with the Montpelier Foundation funding the other three. Together the four water fountains will be used by over 2,700 children.

The four fountains are being built by New Life Mexico (NLM), a UK registered charity. Since 2010 they have constructed 24 water houses in Puerto Vallarta. In 2010 NLM launched a ‘clean drinking water’ campaign for children for schools in the deprived areas of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The water provided by the local water company, Sepal, is safe to drink once it leaves the plant. However, the water becomes totally contaminated by the time it reaches a tap. Filtered water is therefore sold on trucks to all residents in 20-litre bottles at a cost of £1.20. Families living in deprived areas or living on the minimum wage ($58 pesos per 8 hours work – just under £3.00) are unable to afford the cost of filtered water and therefore drink contaminated water, or water from the rivers, which leads to multiple health issues. In the summer months, many children also suffer from severe dehydration. The fountain design is tried and tested and yields 1,168,000 glasses of water per year. The fountain has 6 spouts and can fill around 1,000 bottles every day. Each new water house costs between £3300 and £5000 according to size and usage. This includes the first year of maintenance. Ongoing maintenance costs are of the order of £750 to £1500 per annum for filters and UV lights. A water engineer visits the fountains regularly to ensure that they are maintained properly and working well. Filters need to be changed every 2-3 weeks, depending on usage.

In 2013 NLM made a strategic partnership with Seapal Vallarta (the State of Jalisco’s water company).  Seapal’s Director General formally thanked NLM and their sponsors for the fabulous programme initiated.

NLM and Seapal Vallarta visited schools with water houses, where Seapal provided a “day of water” at each school with games, songs, work sheets and other related materials to help the children remember to save water wherever possible.

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