Water Access in Pancho Mateo - Health Horizons International

A summary of urgent water needs following a
cholera outbreak
Principal Investigator:
Heidi Sinclair Berthoud, Masters in Public Health Candidate, University of
Washington School of Public Health, [email protected]
Investigators in Pancho Mateo:
Willy Destin, Claudia Castillo, Manuel Vivera, Marc Evens
The Camu River
• Community members informed me that they need to bring
water from the nearby river if/when they don’t have money
to buy water or the tap water isn’t sent by the city water
• Garbage and human waste are deposited directly into this
river from Pancho Mateo and surrounding communities, both
upstream and downstream.
Water Points in Pancho Mateo
• Tap water from the local water company
(CORAAPPLATA, which is the city water system) arrives
at these points one or two times per year.
• These water points are in front of the old batey and
lack connecting tubes and faucets to control the water
when it does arrive.
Water Points in Pancho Mateo
• In this part of town, tap water arrives every
three days, however we were informed that it
only arrives in the middle of the night when
no one is awake to collect it.
Water Points in Pancho Mateo
• Although water does arrive every three days,
these points are not properly constructed to
adequately collect water.
Water Points in Pancho Mateo
• Another example of inadequately constructed
water points which lack a faucet, space for a
bucket, or other collection method.
Cisterns in Pancho Mateo
• Some houses have their own cistern. These range in
• About half of those who have a cistern also lack tap
water and must buy water or rely on rainwater to fill
their cistern. Many cisterns are empty.
Cisterns in Pancho Mateo
• We estimate that there are approximately 15
private cisterns in Pancho Mateo.
Locations of Cisterns in Pancho Mateo
• Most people collect and store rainwater. This
is stored in tanks or covered buckets.
• This is one clever example of rainwater
collection and storage in a private cistern.
Private Pumps
• Some houses can afford to have their own
private pump, which works only when the
water is sent by CORAAPPLATA and the
electricity is on.
Broken Pipes
• There are broken water pipes in some areas of
Pancho Mateo.
• When the water arrives, it spills into the street
creating mud and standing water which is also
a Public Health concern.
Broken Pipes
• The majority of the broken pipes are not adequate
for the water pressure.
– The neighbors here told me that pipes on this street were
placed by a foreign aid group and are designed to carry
electrical cables, however for whatever reason they were
installed to carry water.
Repairing Broken Pipes
• A neighbor capping the broken pipe on his street.
• This pipe will no longer spew water into the
street, however it will also no longer carry water
to the rest of the neighborhood.
• Many people do not have a functioning latrine or
bathroom in or near their house.
• Many people informed me that they use a cane
field or other outdoor location to eliminate
human waste.
CORAAPPLATA- Puerto Plata Aqueduct
• Water Treatment Plant- Water is treated here on a
hillside above Montellano and travels via gravity
directly to Puerto Plata.
• There is a small pump that diverts water to Caraballo
(town up the road from Pancho Mateo), however I was
informed that this pump is not strong enough to also
pump water to Pancho Mateo.
Water Quality- Puerto Plata Aqueduct
• An on-site water test performed independently
by the Ministry of Public Health showed that the
level of chlorination in this water was at an
acceptable level.
Montellano Spring and Pump
• We were informed that the Montellano (and
Pancho Mateo) water comes from a large natural
• Three large pumps bring the water out of the
ground, but these only work there is electricity.
Montellano Spring Water Quality
• An on-site test performed independently by the
Ministry of Public Health showed that both the
chlorination level and PH balance were at
acceptable levels.
Problems the Investigators Encountered
• The large pumps for the Montellano (Pancho
Mateo) water system only work when the
electricity is on.
• There is not enough pressure in the system for
the water to arrive in all of Pancho Mateo.
• There are insufficient faucets and broken
water pipes throughout Pancho Mateo.
• CORAAPPLATA does not seem to be highly
motivated to address the lack of regular water
in Pancho Mateo.
To Prevent Cholera and Improve the Water
System in Pancho Mateo:
1. City water must be sent regularly
-A generator to run the city pump when the electricity
is out may fill this gap.
2. Provide a system of functional water pipes.
– Repair all broken pipes
– Install connecting pipes and faucets to individual
– Create/repair community water points
3. Provide a system of latrines and septic tanks.
4. Implement a system to maintain improvements.
Thank you
• Health Horizons International/Horizontes de
• Dr. de Pena, Dr. Marmolejos, and the Ministry of
Public Health in Puerto Plata
• Research Investigators in Pancho Mateo
• Community Health Workers with Horizontes de

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