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Puerto Rico Community Foundation gets $25M to strengthen community aqueducts

The Puerto Rico Community Foundation will receive $25 million in government funding to establish energy redundancy systems that include solar systems and emergency generators in Puerto Rico community aqueducts, to guarantee their uninterrupted operation given that they provide drinking water to thousands of families, the nonprofit announced.

The Foundation signed a grant funding contract with the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3, in Spanish) under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s risk mitigation program, it confirmed.

In its first phase of the $25 million grant, $1.7 million has been approved to conduct the feasibility analysis to identify the optimal infrastructure for each aqueduct, work plans, environmental impact, and community education and participation processes. It is estimated that some 242 community aqueducts, located in 44 municipalities, particularly in Puerto Rico’s central region and in rural areas, will benefit from this initiative.

“After Hurricane María, the Community Foundation quickly identified the need for communities to have access to water, a vital resource for health and life in our communities,” Foundation President Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats said.

“Through the community aqueducts we identified the mechanism to enable reach of our strategy that we call ‘Agua pa’ Nosotros’ (‘Water for Us’),” he said, referring to the program that provides access to potable water by strengthening four essential areas of their community aqueducts: infrastructure; community organization; administration; and compliance with regulatory agencies.

“Since then, we’ve worked with more than 60 community aqueducts, providing physical infrastructure, support in the management of water quality and in administrative processes and community organization,” he said.

“This grant allows us to broaden our scope and focus on providing them not only with access to the solar energy infrastructure, but also preparing them for its management and ownership,” Colón-Tarrats said.

The Puerto Rico Community Foundation has received several other grants recently, including a $150,000 allocation from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to focus on the strengthening of about five community aqueducts in the south, which have been impacted by the earthquakes. This project is expected to benefit more than 500 people who use these systems, the nonprofit stated.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit also received $250,000 from Global Giving to launch a Community Aqueducts Association to “group, support and represent” Puerto Rico’s community aqueducts.

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

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