However, in the poor barrios of Cochabamba, people continue to live without access to water through a public delivery system. Instead, they have to buy their water from trucks that deliver it to their homes, and store it in barrels until they are ready to use it. To try and improve this situation, many communities formed local water committees, which work to bring water services into their neighborhoods.
This year, for the first time, two groups of our students will be working with water committees in two different barrios, to help them in these efforts. We are lucky enough to be working with Marcela Olivera, a Cochabamba-based activist who has been collaborating with the water committees for many years, and who was involved herself in the original Water War. Marcela will also be a visiting scholar next fall at Rutgers' Center for Women's Global Leadership. This will be an amazing opportunity to learn about the struggle for water rights while contributing to the ongoing campaigns to improve access to water for local residents.
For more information about the Water War and Marcela, watch this video clip from the program "Democracy NOW!":