In the presence of President José Mujica, Spanish ambassador Aurora Díaz-Rato and singer Jorge Drexler, a US$ 6.85 million grant agreement was signed for a four-year program that will improve water and sanitation at 355 rural schools, improving access to water for 24,000 people.
The grant for the “Small Rural Communities Water Supply Program” comes from the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean. The government of Uruguay will provide an additional US$ 6.85 million for the programme administered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and executed by the state-owned utility OSE.
The program focuses on rural schools, which play a key role in social integration and are at the centre of community initiatives. OSE has already started the program in 37 localities, each with an average of 20 houses. OSE charges a “social” tariff of 53 pesos (US$ 2.60) for up to 15 cubic metres of water.
By focusing on rural schools, the program will help maximize the benefits of installed water supply capacity and introduce education in hygiene and water conservation. It will begin by installing public standpipes and cylindrical water towers common in many rural areas. At a later stage, individual home connections will be implemented.
The program will upgrade schools’ water and sanitation infrastructure and ensure proper management of wastewater.
The grant signing ceremony was the the first official appearance of Jorge Drexler as “Water Ambassador” for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Spanish government appointed the Oscar-winning Uruyguan musician and doctor as goodwill ambassador for the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean on World Water Day 2010.
Related web sites:
- IDB – UR-X1007: Water Program for small Rural Communities
- IDB – Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean
- OSE – Obras Sanitarias del Estado