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The right to clean water in Peru

11 February 2021
Peru - The right to clean water in Peru

Many communities rely on trucks to deliver water - but sometimes the water trucks don’t come, and after heavy rain it is virtually impossible for the trucks to make it up the steep hillsides.

Water and inequality in Lima

Water is an ever present issue in Lima, a desert city that is the capital of Peru. Although some households are able to water their gardens – where they have them - many more families don’t have access to running water.

Many poor communities rely on water being brought in on trucks, and can pay up to 11 times more for this water than people who have mains water.

You are helping these families to fight for their right to water.

Local organisations you support have surveyed communities without access to water and used this information to lobby the government and build international awareness of this injustice.

The impact of mining and climate change

Peru is rich in copper, zinc and gold, which has led to a lot of mining. These mines often contaminate the water that local communities rely on.

Contaminated water makes fishing unsafe and causes animals to get sick, which threatens the livelihood of rural farmers. People are getting sick too. And, due to climate change, rainfall is less predictable.

Local organisations we support have been reaching out with practical help to these communities.

We’re working to recover ancestral practices, such as the digging of irrigation channels to catch safe water when it rains, and planting native trees and plants that need less water, including native potatoes!

Local schools have also been trained on how to monitor water quality and quantity .

A human rights victory

“Something that I'm so proud of is that we're in there for the long haul” says Lucy Jardine, CAFOD's Programme Officer for Peru. 

Your support to ensure that local voices are heard has resulted in a historic sentence,  after a long legal battle by rural communities affected by mining.

The Peruvian Ministry of Health has been ordered to provide health care to communities who’ve proved they are impacted by heavy metals, and the human rights organisations that you support have been with them at every stage of the way.

The fight continues

The coronavirus pandemic has meant environmental protections have been reduced. Community leaders who lawfully protest for their rights to a safe and healthy environment, including sufficient, clean water, continue to be arrested.

We need to continue to support communities in Peru to keep up their fight for clean water.