Las Cruces Watershed, Nicaragua, September 2023
The LATA Foundation was pleased to hear about the progress being achieved at the Las Cruces watershed programme in Nicaragua, run by Just A Drop, which we are currently supporting.
The project aims to restore and protect the watershed close to Las Cruces and in doing so, improve the lives, health, and economy of the people who live there.
Work has started well, with the planting of 6,000 trees underway. The trees are henizero, locaena, backwood, and pine, which all grow well in this area.
These trees will allow for greater rainwater infiltration, keeping streams in the area full, improving access to water for the community in years to come – as well as helping to conserve the soil.
Fruit tree saplings have also been delivered to the site and are ready for planting, in total the project will plant some 500 such trees. These will not only trap extra water, they will also provide a source of food and trade for the community.
The trees that are being grown are banana, papaya, guava, coffee, tomatoes, peppers and cacao; all of which thrive in the environment.
The terracing has already started to be built, and the three nurseries and family gardens are also on track.
The project started with a community meeting, where roles were outlined and accepted – the community themselves have been and will play a full part, as in every Just a Drop project. Las Cruces community members have also taken part in an exchange visit with another community, which has been running a watershed programme for a couple of years, with the aim of sharing knowledge and experience of what works.
For the meeting, the group was accompanied by Just a Drop’s Founder and Chair, Fiona Jeffery, together with the Projects Officer for Nicaragua, Tim Kingham, who was there as part of ongoing monitoring.
Fiona saw the group have successfully developed their watershed programme, building various dykes across the land, to slow the flow of the water present there, ensuring there is plenty to drink and plenty for their tree and fruit growing, a method which will also be used in Las Cruces.
The water was tested and seen to be fit to drink.
Traditional practices of burning land after a crop had been stopped and the community, by their own words was prospering. Fiona’s view was that if ever there was a project that demonstrates that by working the land well people can develop prosperity and live well, this is it.
The work done has led to more water in the ground and an improvement in the quality of soil to grow better and more sustainable crops. Instead of arid poor-quality soil, it is richer and contains more nutrients. An environment is being created that promotes a culture of better land stewardship, which in turn improves the lives, health, and economy of those living in the area and preserves water in the land for future generations.
The progress made with the project is admirable with the overall aim of creating a watershed which embraces sustainable agricultural and water preservation practices, which will provide an improved water supply and access to food for future generations.
To find out more visit. justadrop.org