Water shortages in the state of Minas Gerais mean that many local families barely have sufficient supply for domestic consumption. As important, water scarcity also threatens the subsistence farming on which these families depend for their livelihoods. Increasingly prevalent large-scale ‘monoculture’ (the growing of a single crop) has also contributed to the lowering of groundwater levels in the region.
This, combined with soil erosion caused by changing climatic conditions, is resulting in rapid depopulation as families affected by water shortages and environmental degradation migrate away from the area.
The program, implemented by Foundation Vivamos Mejor, has been planned and implemented after thorough consultation with the three villages involved, and takes a holistic approach to improving water management techniques and water resource stewardship.
Program activities include supporting community management of local water sources; construction of water basins, improvement of the community’s capacities to manage water resources, and the establishment of “water regulation committees”. Up to date, 105 families received training on water management, 84 water tanks and 24 dams have been built and 30 vegetable growers have received gardening equipment.
The project ultimately seeks to provide improved water resources on a sustainable basis – securing the livelihoods of local farming communities in a way that respects local culture and operates harmoniously with the local environment.