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Latino Daily News

Saturday July 31, 2010

Uruguay Receives $6.85 Million Grant for Water in Rural Communities

The Inter-American Development Bank approved a $6.85 million grant to expand access to better sanitation and water services in Uruguayan rural communities and schools.

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 $6.85 million for the program administered by the IDB and executed by the state-owned utility OSE.

The project is aimed at improving water and sanitation at 355 schools over a four-year period, improving access to water for 24,000 people. The grant will help Uruguay achieve the Millennium Development Goal concerning rural water supply and sanitation.

Uruguay’s rural population has water supply coverage of 87 percent while and sanitation coverage is 43 percent. The grant will support the country’s effort in achieving universal water supply coverage.

The program will focus on rural schools, which play a key role in social integration and are at the center of community initiatives.

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. This will help eliminate health risks and give students access to safe water for drinking and cooking. At the same time, it will offer appropriate sanitation services and foster good hygiene habits.

The program seeks to improve the rural population’s quality of life, particularly by reducing waterborne diseases and child mortality rates. It seeks to reduce the time that women spend carrying water, allowing them to devote more of their day to alternative activities or to education.

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