The (Water) Helpers  Part 5 of …Covid-19 Column

Purified water in times of Coronavirus

Looking at the desert landscape of Puerto Peñasco as the city reels particularly from economic impacts in the age of coronavirus, under Stay at Home measures and with businesses on hold, many people from across the spectrum have sought ways to help. This spans the gamut from civil society, non-profit organizations, churches, individual undertakings, and governmental efforts. First, attention turned to food needs, then masks and making sure local health institutions were getting needed medical supplies, even psychologists at the ready to assist.

As the days got hotter, and needs continued to grow, a group of friends made up of neighbors and local business owners – identifying themselves as “Puros Compas” (pure compadres / pure friends) took it upon themselves to try and address yet another pressing need – drinking water.

By May 6th, among friends and contacts, they had gathered 3 personal vehicles, as well as water tanks ranging in capacity from 750 to 2500 liters each. With support from several local water plants, volunteers, and a long list of friends who joined in the effort to support the team, by the end of the day they had managed to distribute 4350 liters of purified water, equal to about 200 garrafones (5 gallon jugs).  By the second day, they had distributed 7000 liters, starting from the area of Nueva Esperanza and with the goal of continuing to other neighborhoods in town.

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This organic gathering of friends and volunteers has also found itself able to hand out food baskets from time to time, along with a handful of prepared meals, among other forms of support, while urging people to wear nose/mouth coverings and to keep a healthy distance.

Though several local water plants eagerly opened taps to help the enthusiastic group of volunteers, additional purified water was needed to lessen the strain on the privately owned water plants – who are also struggling through these times – and that’s when the opportunity arose to request the local water company (OOMAPAS) provide purified water from a plant made possible last year through efforts of the local Rotary Club.

On Monday, May 11th, the enthusiastic volunteers filled up their water tanks for the first time at the OOMAPAS water plant located at the corner of Ave. Luis Encinas and Calle 20. By the end of the week, and with additional assistance from other local water plants, the group had managed to deliver an average of 500 garrafones each day, translating into approximately 10,000 to 15,000 liters and benefiting over 1500 people daily.

What began as a conversation among amigos as to drinking water needs in Puerto Peñasco during Covid-19 has flowed into a river of synchronization – with water provided by various purified water plants in the city, numerous donors from across the community helping to cover gas needs, and even lunches and drinks to those distributing water under the glaring sun.

For its part, the OOMAPAS purified water plant, has also opened its doors to provide free drinking water at its location to families in need, Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 2 pm. (Intersection of Ave Luis Encinas and Calle 20).  This is in agreement with the local Rotary Club, as the purpose of the plant itself is to provide drinking water to students from local schools across the community. Yet, with students at home as a preventative health step, delivery of drinking water has been made possible through the efforts of the volunteer group.

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Undoubtedly, during these complicated times the community of Puerto Peñasco has shown how to come together and unite in this and many other efforts, supporting those most in need, with friends helping friends!



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