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Direct Relief, Abbvie grant $1.9M to improve rural drinking water systems

Direct Relief, with the support of pharmaceutical company AbbVie, awarded a $1.9 million grant to nonprofit organization Por los Nuestros — dedicated to providing renewable energy solutions, advocacy for communities and public health — to install renewable energy systems in 25 rural aqueducts in communities without drinking water service.

The Anones Maya rural community aqueduct in the municipality of Naranjito, is project number 21, out of a total of 25, which was recently completed. With this project, some 400 families that did not have access Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) service now have the guarantee of access to drinking water regardless of if there is power, as it is now an “energy-resilient aqueduct.”

“We’re grateful to AbbVie, which, through its contribution to energize this community aqueduct, will improve the quality of life and well-being of this community,” said Direct Relief Executive Advisor Ivonne Rodríguez-Wiewall.

“In the case of Anones Maya, 109 solar panels with 90kWh in lithium batteries were installed, equipment that immediately represents a guarantee in the continuity of the drinking water service, an economy in the cost of consumption and better care of the environment,” she said.

The nonprofits estimated that the renewable energy equipment will result in savings for the community of $14,000 annually in electricity bills, and a limited impact on the environment. It is expected that 43 metric tons of CO2 will no longer be produced or released into the atmosphere.

Por los Nuestro was founded in 2017 by a group of professionals looking to address the needs and community inequalities, especially those that affect health and healthcare. Some 70,000 families lack access to drinking water in their homes, and of these, they have already managed to benefit some 4,000 of them, the nonprofit said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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