The BBC’s Dan Collyns reports on the way some low-income residents of Lima, Peru, collect their clean water. They use fog nets to harvest water from the mist that often shrouds the city.
Read the Transcript
This text below is a phonetic transcript of a radio story broadcast by PRI’s THE WORLD. It has been created on deadline by a contractor for PRI. The transcript is included here to facilitate internet searches for audio content. Please report any transcribing errors to firstname.lastname@example.org. This transcript may not be in its final form, and it may be updated. Please be aware that the authoritative record of material distributed by PRI’s THE WORLD is the program audio.
MARCO WERMAN: I’m Marco Werman. This is The World. Drinking water is an increasingly scarce commodity in much of the world. Peru’s capital, Lima, is no exception. A quarter of Lima’s eight and a half million residents lack basic water services. And climate change and population growth are only making things worse. Some Lima residents are left to rely on expensive and poor-quality water from trucks. But now, others have taken to using a simple innovation to harvest water from the coastal mists that often shroud the city. The innovation is called a fog net. The BBC’s Dan Collyns reports.
[SOUND OF RUNNING WATER]
DAN COLLYNS: They look like huge abandoned volleyball nets, facing west towards the Pacific on one of Lima’s many hillsides. They’re still an experiment, but they’re giving residents here a lifeline. Figures have appeared out of the fog and it’s Noe.
[WE HEAR DAN AND NOE GREET EACH OTHER IN SPANISH]
NOE NEIRA TOCTO: [IN SPANISH] My name is Noe Neira Tocto. I AM the head of this community. We’ve had these fog nets for two years now. Each net is eight meters by four and catches about sixty liters a day. So between the four nets we can catch about two hundred and-forty liters a day.
[SOUND OF A MACHINE, WEEDING]
COLLYNS: Olga Arce is one of the community leaders here in Bellavista. She’s doing a bit of weeding just around the fog nets and this hillside, because of the fog, is actually green, and verdant.
[SOUND OF WATER]
OLGA ARCE: [IN SPANISH] The people who live here are all migrants from the countryside outside Lima, so they know all about farming. We value our water because we use it for our vegetable gardens.
COLLYNS: A bus ride away, in the suburb of San Martin de Porres, it’s a very different picture. You can’t put fog nets here, and there’s no piped water either.
[SOUND OF A TRUCK, OF WATER]
COLLYNS: That was one of the private water trucks which distributes water through this area of San Martin de Porres where some two hundred and fifty thousand people live without running water. And they pay up to ten times more than you would pay in a middle-class neighborhood for their water. Just to fill up one barrel costs about fifty cents.
[WE HEAR AMANDA SOLIS SPEAKING IN SPANISH]
COLLYNS: Amanda Solis is one of hundreds of community leaders throughout Lima who are fighting for what they see is just a basic right to have access to running water. She said her children are suffering from parasites and intestinal infections because of the quality of the water which they have delivered by a private company. Amanda wants progress but it doesn’t seem to be happening fast enough for her.
[THE SOUND OF WATER / A DAM]
COLLYNS: This small dam on the River Rimac helps to provide at least some of Lima’s residents with water. Guillermo Leon, the director of Lima’s water board, Sedapal, says they’re committed to providing all residents with piped water by two thousand and eleven. But there’s a catch.
GUILLERMO LEON: [IN SPANISH] We understand that democracy means access to basic services. But we have to appeal to the solidarity of the people who already have water to reduce their consumption – there’s no point in laying new water pipes just to deliver a few drops.
COLLYNS: Mister Leon says that with a third of the country’s population now living in the capital, getting water to everyone can’t be achieved without someone making sacrifices. Climate change means less and less water is flowing from the Andes mountains. Fog nets may help those who live on the hillsides, but the sea mist cannot provide for all.
WERMAN: The BBC’s Dan Collyns there, in Lima, Peru.
Copyright ©2009 PRI’s THE WORLD. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to PRI’s THE WORLD. This transcript may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior written permission. For further information, please email The World’s Permissions Coordinator at email@example.com.