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Apr 23 2020

Helping 9,000 people harvesting water for Raramuri communities

Posted by TC Energy


One of the Raramuri families benefited from the water harvesting program.

Access to water is a basic Human Right and, most of us take it for granted, however, for indigenous communities in northern Mexico that is not the case.

Providing drinking water to these communities in the mountain region of Chihuahua has been a dire challenge for many decades. The extreme temperatures – reaching up to 40°C (104°F) in summer – and the desert conditions of the area cause severe droughts across that state every year. These conditions are exacerbated by the lack of infrastructure to supply water to smaller communities affected by shortages.

The Tarahumaras, or Raramuris, as they are known in their language, are Indigenous people who live among the canyons and mountains of the State of Chihuahua. They depend on rainfall for the water they require, and if none comes, they must embark on long walks of over 15 kilometres (9 mi.) across rugged landscapes to reach the vital resource.

It is precisely in the Tarahumara’s land where several sections of our 560-kilometre-long (348 mi.) gas pipeline El Encino - Topolobampo cross and directly impact and influence the communities affected by these water shortages.


Facing drought

After taking the training sessions, people participate in the installation of a water harvesting system in Mogótavo, Chihuahua.

Committing to the development of strong communities where we live, work and operate, TC Energía and the State of Chihuahua signed an agreement in 2018 to develop a program for the construction of 1,830 harvesting water systems and 35 systems for water collection through a joint investment of $58.1M pesos ($4.1M CAD, $2.8M USD). This program will benefit around 2,450 indigenous families and 9,000 people that do not currently have access to regular drinking water.

Our company aims to make a positive impact in the communities where we live and work. We hope that the rainwater harvesting program will be a life-changing initiative that will benefit the Raramuri community and will reinforce our relationship with them.”

Robert Jones
President, TC Energia

The implementation phase began in 2019 when civil society organizations began providing all the technical support and training the Raramuri communities needed to install the water systems. These organizations have been working in those communities for several years and have developed their own models for engaging with indigenous communities, respecting the communities’ ideologies, cultures and traditions.

“By developing these joint initiatives with the State Government, TC Energía reinforces the way we build strong relationships with local stakeholders while keeping our company values and corporate responsibility standards at the core.”, said Carlos Borunda, Stakeholder and Government Relations Director at TC Energía.

By the end of this program, the Raramuri families will not only have access to water, but also vastly improve the quality of their own lives. The expectation is that this program will contribute to a decrease the number of diseases caused by the consumption of contaminated water and provide positive life-changing infrastructure for these communities.

Javier Corral, the Governor of Chihuahua, had this to say: “We thank TC Energía for the social investment made around the Topolobampo pipeline that it is so important for our State. We are implementing an integral project for the recovery of the indigenous communities that is our priority in the mountain range zone of Chihuahua.”