Alsea Foundation and The Starbucks Foundation Reinforce Regional Partnership with Planet Water Foundation to Guarantee access to Clean Water for Vulnerable Communities in Colombia

  • Over the next five years, the organizations will install 25 AquaTower systems across communities in Colombia and Mexico with an investment of more than USD$437,000.
  • The filtration system for each tower will produce 1,000 liters of clean water every hour.
  • Two new AquaTowers were installed in Colombia, benefiting more than 5,000 people in the department of Cundinamarca.

Bogotá, Colombia – With the recent completion of two additional AquaTower water filtration systems in Colombia, Alsea Foundation and The Starbucks Foundation reinforced their March 2023 commitment to install 25 AquaTowers over the next five years, through their partnership with Planet Water Foundation. This initiative will guarantee access to clean and safe water for up to 45,000 people in various communities across markets where Alsea operates Starbucks stores, beginning with Colombia and Mexico.

The AquaTower systems to be installed will feature a three-stage filtration system, which will allow them to produce 1,000 liters of clean, safe drinking water per hour, and include integrated soap dispensers so that children in the community can wash their hands. The projects will also include the implementation of a hygiene and health education program to encourage behavioral change regarding water use, as well as a system called the AquaSan, which provides surface disinfection capabilities.

“We are sensitive to the situation that many of our communities are suffering from water scarcity, a basic element to preserve life,” said Ivonne Madrid, Director of Alsea Foundation. “We are grateful for the partnership with The Starbucks Foundation and Planet Water Foundation as we know this project will change the lives of tens of thousands of people, ensuring they have access to clean water every day."

“We believe that access to clean and safe water is a basic right, which is why we have collaborated with Planet Water Foundation for more than 10 years, starting in Indonesia and recently expanding to Latin America,” said Alicia Vermaele, director of The Starbucks Foundation. “We are proud that this new initiative will accelerate access for communities in Mexico, Colombia and other places where clean water is lacking, with the help of our local Starbucks partners (employees) as volunteers.”

The first AquaTowers in Colombia

In March 2023, within the framework of World Water Day, the first AquaTower of this alliance was installed in the municipality of Sesquilé. On August 22 and 23, two additional towers were installed at schools in the municipalities of Suesca and Cáqueza, which will benefit more than 5,000 people living in Cundinamarca.

Starbucks volunteers and Alsea employees help to implement the program, under the direction of Planet Water Foundation, who in addition to installing the towers develop a water hygiene and health education program with students and community members, to help create changes in behavior, beliefs and knowledge about life-saving hygiene practices. In Colombia, the projects are implemented in partnership with Planet Water Foundation's deployment partner Trebola Organización Ecológica and local schools.

Access to clean water is a growing problem worldwide. According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water services. According to 2023 figures from the Ministry of Housing, in Colombia, 12 million people have inadequate access to drinking water service and 32 million Colombians do not have access to drinking water, a reality that mainly affects communities located in rural areas.

"These days with our volunteers allow us to generate stronger connections with the communities and move forward with our purpose, delivering happiness and experiences full of flavor and transforming the lives of hundreds of people in vulnerable situations," added Ivonne Madrid, Director of Fundación Alsea, A.C.