Renew Water for a Living Semiarid – The experience of water reuse in the Purão



Renew Water for a Living Semiarid – The experience of water reuse in the Purão

In the community of Purão, in the municipality of Trairi, Ceará, the family of Ricardo Jerônimo Barbosa shows how to store water through social technologies and thus brigs life to the Semiarid. The family is formed by Ricardo, his mother Valderina Barbosa Alves, and the brothers Manoel, Gerardo and Francisco. Together, they divide the tasks in their small land of two hectares, counting house, yard and woods.


The family, since the time of Ricardo’s grandparents, has always worked in agriculture, but in the old days, was necessary to walk long distances to get water. Not only for agricultural needs, but even for the households. It was in 2009 that this story began to change, thanks to the coming of the ‘First water cistern’. Having now the drinking water guaranteed, the family conquered in 2014 the ‘boardwalk cistern’ (cisterna calçadão), that made possible the diversity of production. “When there was no storage of water we had a hard time getting quality water to drink, it was brackish. After the first water arrived we had quality drinking water. With the boardwalk we started to produce our own vegetables”, says Ricardo.


At the end of 2015, the family received an innovative experience: the ‘grey water reuse’ system. All the water used by the family in bathing and washing dishes and clothes is now treated and reused to irrigate an area of 150m², producing watermelon, jerimum, sesame, papaya, tomato, pepper, guava, passion fruit, beans, corn and cassava. The crops are for home consumption and also traded daily in the community and at the Agroecological and Solidarity Fair that takes place once a month in Purão. “After the reuse our production increased by 20%”, says the farmer.

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Ricardo 640x424

About 200 liters of water are reused daily; the reuse system is made up of water collection pipes, a box of grease to filter waste, a biological filter that works with the help
earthworms, a wormhole and finally the reservoir to store the treated water that is then stored in a water box. To irrigate the yard, the system uses gravity and a set of hoses that spread the water with the intensity and frequency that the family wishes.

The earthworms, which came together with the reuse system, has also added income to the family since. As worms reproduce easily, the family has marketed some to the fishermen in the community. The family also has in its area species like acerola, seriguela, cashew tree, coconut tree, cassava, soursop, manga, icaicica, pitia and thrush. Although the community still have no seed house, the family has the habit of save their own corn, bean and sesame seeds.


The corn kept by Ricardo is already in the family for approximately 100 years. Ricardo’s family yard It is a typical land held by a working family in the semiarid: agroecology, life abundance and diversity!

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