ADENAM (Youth Association in the Defense of the Nature in Matelândia) is a nonprofit organization founded by a group of teachers and students from State College Euclides da Cunha in Matelândia in September 19th, 1989. The initiative of creating an organization started with some students of the biology teacher Ildo Dal Pozzo, who were motivated to take care of the environment by means of in-class activities.
Otoniel Barboza Garcez Junior
water, life, basin,rural, agriculture, climate changes, adaption solutions
ADENAM (Youth Association in the Defense of the Nature in Matelândia) is a nonprofit organization founded by a group of teachers and students from State College Euclides da Cunha in Matelândia in September 19th, 1989. The initiative of creating an organization started with some students of the biology teacher Ildo Dal Pozzo, who were motivated to take care of the environment by means of in-class activities. With the association it was possible to spread the idea, overstepping the mark of our town, State, and even our country. In 1996, the Social Technology “Water is Life” was born due to problems related to some farmers health. It is a technology whose main elements are PVC pipes, plastic canvas, earth, stones, and cement. Also, it makes use of a simple, low-cost, efficient, and easily applicable methodology. Nowadays, the project comprehends five topics: 1) Basic sanitation and health, because this technology provides drinking water for human and animal consumption, and it also avoids the transmission of hydro sanitary diseases; 2) Income generation, because without water there is no production; 3) Hydro resources, because it improves the outflow of springs; 4) Climate changes, because the planting of riparian vegetation promotes the capture of carbon, which lowers the greenhouse effect and, as a consequence, cooperates with the reduction of extreme climatic event; 5) Environmental education, because with students participation the organization is acting in the formation of more conscious citizens. Currently, ADENAM has thirty associates, including teachers, masons, self-employed people, and farmers. It is a great pleasure to report here a small piece of more than two decades of work rendered to the environment, and life as well. We are happy to know that thousands of citizens have been benefited from this brilliant and efficient idea which was devised in an environment that could not be different: the school.
This project has been developed in small rural properties and has already been applied in several towns, such as: Medianeira, Céu Azul, Foz do Iguaçu, São Miguel do Iguaçu, Cascavel, as well as in the States: Alagoas, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Mato Grosso, besides Santa Rosa, in Paraguay.
The implementation of the project “Water is Life” is coordinated by members of ADENAM with the participation of farmers and their families, who purchase the necessary materials (whenever possible), and who help with manual labor, such as: digging trenches and sifting the earth used in the mixture. Farmers also collaborate with one of the first environmental measures taken, which is the cleaning of the springs by means of gathering rubble, garbage, and other materials in the surrounding area. For the execution of the project, farmers are advised to invite all their neighbors so that, together, all of them have the possibility of learning and multiplying this technology. Also, a school group is always invited to participate in the implementation of the project by planting riparian vegetation, affording them an opportunity of a practical class of environmental education.
The project is now completely active and has the following partners: State College Euclides da Cunha, which participates with its students in the activities of environmental education; the City Council, which makes its auditorium available for the events promoted by the NGO; Matelândia Radio Station, which discloses for free the activities developed; the Municipal Secretary of Environment, which provides the project with seedlings of trees used in the recomposition of riparian vegetation; the National Water Agency (ANA), which certified the project in 2010, recognizing the importance of this technology to motivate and guarantee the rational and sustainable use of the hydro resources in our country.
In 1996, representatives of the residents´ associations of the countryside, together with the Municipal Health Council, promoted a debate about the high index of worm infection on the rural population. The farmer Pedro Josino Diesel, who was the president of Cruzeirinho community and member of the council, suggested that the problem was being caused by the consumption of the water coming from springs. This fact was confirmed by the Municipal Secretary of Agriculture and Environment who was present in the meeting and reported that over ninety percent of the springs were contaminated. Pedro was one of those who helped to develop the Social Technology and recovered the first spring of the project in his community, with the help of ADENAM in the planting of riparian vegetation. From that moment on, he became also part of the association, making the necessary efforts to intensify the actions of improvement in the quality and water supply for farmers. This way, the project “Water is Life” was born.
We affirm that, particularly for farmers, drinking water coming from springs acquire an extreme relevance for it guarantees the life quality of families and it also makes it possible the rising of gains through typical activities of the familiar farming, such as: irrigation of greens, cattle raising for milk production, fish farming, and animals raising. Another point to be highlighted is that springs on the North side of our town flow into rivers called Barreirão, then to Ocoí, and, finally, into Itaipu lake, which moves the turbines of Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant. Only in 2010, this plant generated sixteen percent of all the energy consumed in Brazil and seventy-two percent of the energy used in Paraguay. Springs recovered on the South of the town flow into Silva river, and then into Iguaçu River, contributing to one of the greatest shows of the nature, the Iguassu Falls.
After recovering the spring, its maintenance is made by the benefitted family through instructions given by the NGO members. In the first six months, coordinators continue supervising the spring in order to identify problems that might be still happening or any need of alteration in its recovering or even observing the impact of this spring on the local environment.
The project started as an adapting initiative. Due to the agricultural mechanization presented in the western micro region of Paraná State since the 80´s, springs have suffered a process known as silting up in which potable springs that supported families or that were the starting points of streams and affluents of rivers were silted up or even vanished. Another aggravating circumstance is that the vegetation bordering rivers and lakes, known as riparian vegetation, and which is essential for the preservation of these springs was, in most cases, drastically reduced and even eliminated in certain places. This fact aggravated even more the situation and left families and animals that live in the countryside without the supply of potable water, which was so abundant in this region. This methodology has been applied by families from different regions as well as from socioeconomically different levels. The organization has attended to many invitations from cooperatives, labor unions, and city halls to give lectures on the theoretical and practical side of the technology. This has been a very efficient strategy to transfer this technology to other communities.
In its initial phase, the project presented two problems. One of them was that, in the first springs, the seal with earth and cement was made with water which was stored until it gets the height of the pipes that are at approximately fifty centimeters from the ground. It became a big problem because, due to the pressure of the water stored, it was needed to manoeuvre in order to perform the work successfully; otherwise, the water took all the mixture which had been put some time before. The solution found was the use of a 100mm pipe with stopper that was put on the basis of the spring. This pipe without the stopper permits the passage of the water and if it is put only after the cure of the mixture (earth, cement, and water) it makes the work easier. With this alteration, a mechanism was also created for the spring cleaning, making its washing possible whenever the stopper is taken out. Another problem observed was that, due to the silting, on the same place there were several springs very close one to the others. This way, it would be necessary to recover each place in which there was water overflowing, making it difficult for the farmer to impound that water because it sprang from many places. The solution adopted then was the opening of ditches approximately one meter deep for the placement of stones and covering with plastic canvas, converging all the streams to only one place. With this adaptation, there was a meaningful improvement, facilitating the impounding and treatment of the water and, as a consequence, the disappearance of many close springs, generating economy and efficiency in the technology applied. The following materials are needed for the execution of the work: a 0,50cm sewage pipe (white) 100mm; one stopper 100mm; 0,50cm water pipe (brown) 25mm; 1,00m water pipe 50mm; 1,50m water pipe 25mm; one stopper 25mm; one sack of cement; 1,00m³ stone ; 10m² of plastic canvas 200 micra, and 5 cans of sifted earth. The method consists of cleaning the surroundings of the spring manually, placing stones, and then installing the pipes. The fountainhead is sealed off with the mixture made with earth, cement, and water. The stones have the objective of filtering the water. The pipes with different thicknesses allow the water drainage. After that, native riparian vegetation is planted in a 50m radius surrounding the spring. Henceforth, the point is isolated with fences attempting to avoid contamination by organic matter or animals. ADENAM has four technicians for the execution of the project, who are: an Executive Secretary, a Coordinator for the works of intervention on the spring, a Coordinator for the works of recomposition of the riparian vegetation, and a Coordinator for the works of environmental education.
The Fundação Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil Foundation) supports the action since 2007. It financed a video and a folder of the project with the institutional support of UNESCO, KPMG, BNDES, and the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation. The foundation also make it accessible to anyone interested a brief summary of the methodology on the site of the Bank of Social Technologies, aiming at its reapplication.
Our great challenge regarding the project is that of converting it into a product; that is, we wish to make this technology available as a kit, with materials used and instruction manual. In order to make this intention a real fact, we depend on financial support. That is why we are open to partnerships proposals. But it does not lower our enthusiasm because we are aware of the fact that our work, although modest, contributes not only to an improvement of health and life quality of rural population, but also to the environmental conservation and the economical development of the country.