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What Are the Values That Guide the Residents of La Purification in the Process of Water Management and How Are They Implemented?

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Los Purifiqueсos live in an egalitarian society, when it comes to water management at least. An egalitarian society is one that is characterized by the belief in equal power for all people. The water system is used by all and therefore must be taken care of by all. This includes paying taxes, taking cargo positions and faenas. Faenas are community service that is obligatory in place of or in addition to paying taxes. The cargo positions are civil or religious offices to which residents are elected to serve within the local municipal government or Catholic Church. (Ennis-McMillan 2006:41) The civil cargos positions last three years while the religious cargos only last one year. These positions are usually unpaid, obligatory and are only available and rotated among a qualified set of candidates. The community elects people from each half of the settlement to balance the knowledge of distribution and problems. Each member has knowledge of the history of water management development, the geography of the water system and the names of the people in the part of the community. (Ennis-McMillan 2006:53) Therefore, when a problem affects only a certain section of the community, it will affect that section’s elected member as well. As with the example given in the book, if the water stopped flowing to a certain section, the elected members can immediately determine whether is the problem with the piping, or if the pump wasn’t put on at the right time to make enough pressure to get to that section.

Included in the definition of an egalitarian society is the belief in civil rights. This has recently been demonstrated by an increase in the role of women in water management. Starting in 2000, women were finally allowed to be elected to civil cargo positions. The rise of women-headed households was demonstrated by the number of households with registered piped water connections to a woman. According to Carmen, a member of La Purficaciуn,

“Water probably interests us (women) more (than men)…The man does not care. He just takes a bath and leaves and that’s it. And not so with the woman, because the woman knows that everything, everything, everything in life that she does in the house is about water, is done with water. If we are going bathe, if we are going to wash our hands, if we are going to wash a diaper, if we are going to prepare some tea, if we are going to wash a baby’s diaper, everything, everything, everything is the responsibility of the woman.” (Ennis-McMillan 2006:93)

Women are the managers of the water in the house because they carry out the responsibilities of filling barrels, buckets piletas, which is a small reservoir for storing water for household use, as well as obtaining water for domestic use, rationing water during shortages and making sure the water fees are paid. (Ennis-McMillan 2006: 97) Furthermore, women began sharing the responsibilities of faena labor for drinking water connections and be more active in the politics of water. Is it not uncommon for women to voice their opinions in meetings about water and want to make more sever action against those not doing their part during water shortages (Ennis-McMillan 2006: 99) As a result of an interview of twenty-one members of the community who had or were currently holding a civil or religious cargo, all twenty-one agreed it was a good idea to have women serving in the delegaciуn. (Ennis-McMillan 2006:105)

However, looks may be deceiving. The management process is not completely egalitarian. The highest cargo

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