Clean Water Means Better Coffee and a Better Life for Fabian and Luzdela

Fabian Ospina Florez and his wife, Luzdela, grow and process coffee on about 5 acres in the town of Manzanares in Colombia. And they’ve improved the quality of their coffee and their life thanks, in large part, to cleaner water.

Like so many coffee farmers in this country known for its high-quality coffee, Fabian and Luzdela struggled to earn a good, steady income from their coffee. They also didn’t know that their methods of processing coffee were negatively affecting their land, creating a cycle of ever-diminishing coffee quality.

Waste water from coffee processing, combined with household waste water, was causing contamination of the soil and fresh water in the region. You’re helping Fabian and Luzdela, their neighbors and surrounding communities to learn environmentally-friendly farming methods so they are able to continue to rely on coffee to feed and support their families.

An important part of this work includes installing and repairing systems so that waste water from the coffee production process does not contaminate the fresh water supply. Farmers also received improved equipment for processing coffee that requires less water and produces less waste.

And at home, families now have sinks, toilets, and septic systems that decontaminate waste water before it goes back into the environment. “Before the new septic system, contaminated water would flow into a stream where the river passes to neighbors downstream. Now the septic system decontaminates the water,” Fabian says.

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Fabian is proud of what he’s accomplished — earning more for his coffee — and proud of his farm. He considers it both his home and his legacy. “The dream I have is to stay here on my farm and finish my house. I want to live until I am old and I want to die here on my farm.”

This article appears in: LWR Special Reports