Northern Villages of Indian Church and San Carlos to get Potable Water Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 14 March 2013 00:00

OfficialOver 105 families in the northern villages of Indian Church and San Carlos in the Orange Walk District will soon bid farewell to old water hand pumps and hand-dug wells thanks to a Social Investment Fund project, which will supply quality, potable water to both villages.

The project was officially launched on Friday, March 8th at 10 am in the village of Indian Church.

Both Indian Church and San Carlos Villages are poor communities with 37% of their population living below the poverty level. The villagers have been relying on wells, hand pumps and the New River Lagoon as their main sources of water for over three decades. These water sources, however, are untreated and have continuously posed health treats for water-borne diseases to the residents.

The SIF project, which will be financed by the Government of Belize at approximately $996,000 from a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), will address the water needs of both villages.

The project will include the construction of an elevated Ferro-concrete 20,000 gallon water tank in Indian Church, a pump house and installation of submersible pump and chlorinator, installation of a generator and a 28,000 ft network of distribution pipes.

The water tank will be constructed at the highest point at the entrance of Indian Church Village. The water will be pumped to the tank and then gravity fed to the entire village households in Indian Church and San Carlos. 

As part of the project, training will be provided to all water board members, including the operators, in the operation and management of the new water system. In addition, they will also receive training in basic accounting from the Ministry of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development, Immigration and National Emergency Management.

San Carlos Village is nestled near the New River Lagoon and located some 40 miles south of Orange Walk Town by road and approximately ninety five minutes by boat down the New River. 

Indian Church Village is also located near the New River Lagoon some 37 miles south of Orange Walk Town by road and about ninety minutes by boat down the river.

Both villages were settled in the 80’s by Belizeans and Central American refugees (mainly Guatemalans) fleeing from the civil war in Central America.

In Indian Church village, the early inhabitants settled close to the Lamanai ruins, working as farmers or as helpers to archaeologists excavating the nearby ruin. During this period the only access to Indian Church was by boat via the New River and New River Lagoon from Orange Walk Town.  In 1991 the government made the Lamanai area a natural reserve and relocated the village and villagers about 3/4 mile south to where it is now situated.  At the same time the government constructed a road from San Felipe Village providing vehicular access.  Since then the village has steadily grown in size and population. Many residents of Indian Church are engaged in income generating opportunities, including agriculture and food services and are much inconvenienced when they are without water. The village of Indian Church is named after the ruins of a church near which it is located.

The Lamanai outpost Lodge was constructed to encourage visits by tourists to the area and provides a few villagers with employment. 
The Indian Church/San Carlos Rudimentary Water System will promote good hygiene and improved health in both communities.  In addition to providing safe and reliable, potable water the project will also facilitate the development of enterprises in the tourism industry and reduce the incidences of water borne diseases.
The guest speaker at the official launching was Hon. Senator Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development, Immigration and National Emergency Management.  Other speakers included representatives of the Social Investment Fund, the Indian Church and San Carlos Village Councils and their respective water boards.