Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Caras con Causa
Caras 0433 PR, Cataño, 00963, PR
Community service and resiliency
Puerto Rico has the worst record in the U.S. for drinking water safety, and according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, "Virtually everyone on the island is getting water from systems that violate testing or reporting requirements.” The water safety problems for Puerto Rico’s residents go beyond bacteria and viruses; recent federal data shows a widespread failure to monitor and report on lead and copper violations.
Puerto Rico is also at risk from one of the most dangerous climate impacts: increased frequency and strength of tropical storms. When Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico in 2019, the storm damaged reservoirs and knocked out power to water pumps, leaving many people dependent on bottled water for months. Several years later, many of the island‘s residents still experience frequent disruptions to their water service.
In the community of Cataño outside San Juan, Caras con Causa is stepping up to serve their community in times of need. With the support of Para la Naturaleza and Empowered by Light, Caras con Causa has equipped its school with the resources to serve as a community resiliency center. In 2020, the school installed a solar PV system that can operate when the electrical grid fails, and In 2021, the school received a Water Box.
The volunteers at Caras con Causa have been using the Water Box to distribute clean, safe water to two communities in Cataño. The water is delivered door-to-door to 45 families selected by community leaders. Most of the recipients are 60+ in age or have medical needs that constrain their mobility. And with the combination Water Box and off-grid solar, the school will serve as a refuge during the frequent electrical and water disruptions that plague the island’s residents.
Water Box Impact
Single-use 16 oz. plastic bottles replaced
Gallons of clean water distributed
Kilograms of greenhouse gasses avoided