Strengthening groundwater monitoring with the construction and equipping of wells in El Salvador

The construction and equipping of groundwater monitoring wells in Casa de la Mujer, in Mejicanos and El Cafetalón, in Santa Tecla,

were carried out within the framework of the project Water Management in the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador; of the European Union's EUROCLIMA+ programme, in the Urban Water sector, implemented by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation - AECID and the French Development Agency - AFD.

9 December 2022, San Salvador.  Through the project Water Management in the AMSS, Urban Water of EUROCLIMA+, the Council of Mayors and the Planning Office of the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador (COAMSS/ OPAMSS) are strengthening the water monitoring network of the Metropolitan Area, with the construction and equipping of two monitoring wells: one in the Casa de la Mujer, in the municipality of Mejicanos and in El Cafetalón, in Santa Tecla, in El Salvador.

Through these wells, the aim is to know the depth where groundwater is found and the oscillations of water recharge in each of the areas where they are located.


The San Salvador Metropolitan Area (AMSS) has a network of 19 groundwater monitoring wells, 17 run by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and 2 executed by COAMSS/OPAMSS, in addition to the existing network.

The construction and equipping of the monitoring well at Casa de la Mujer in Mejicanos had an investment of $165,000; the total investment for both wells was $330,000, developed within the framework of the Water Management in the AMSS project, financed by the European Union, through the EUROCLIMA+ programme, in the Urban Water sector, implemented by AFD and AECID.

The objective of the Water Management project is to promote the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) through the development of management plans for water recharge areas in the AMSS, El Salvador. The actions are aimed at generating information for the protection and increase of water availability, as well as implementing pilot projects to generate conditions for adaptation to extreme events related to climate change.

The OPAMSS is working in coordination with the Central Government, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the National Administration of Aqueducts and Sewers (ANDA), and the 14 municipalities that are members of COAMSS, so that these efforts to protect water resources can be replicated in other areas of El Salvador, and so that cities and the population are prepared for the impacts of climate change, specifically on water resources.

The Executive Director of the OPAMSS, architect Yolanda Bichara, highlighted the challenge in the AMSS as a territory characterised by high geological risks, vulnerabilities associated with climate change, being surrounded by active volcanoes, soils susceptible to erosion, landslides and collapses.

"In the area of water management, there are still challenges, mainly because we are not a sustainable territory, given that we need water supplies from outside the AMSS, as in the case of the northern sector and the Lempa river, water management plays a fundamental role in sustainability, resilience and risk prevention through territorial planning; therefore it is useful to continue the research work, data analysis and execution of works to make decisions and develop regulatory proposals hand in hand with the central government and the municipalities of the AMSS, according to the needs and problems we face", said Yolanda Bichara.


Meanwhile, the mayor of Mejicanos, Saúl Meléndez, explained that the construction and equipping of wells and the information they generate will help different institutions in making decisions for the stewardship of water recharge in the AMSS.

"This work that we are inaugurating in Mejicanos will undoubtedly help us all to better understand our groundwater, including the citizens, so that we are aware of its evolution. It also helps institutions such as COAMSS/OPAMSS, ANDA, ASA and MARN in the sustainable planning of the city so that they can make important decisions about water and its availability," said Saúl Meléndez, Mayor of Mejicanos.

Through this and other projects, OPAMSS continues to have an impact from land use planning to water management, as they will contribute to having a sustainable city that is prepared against the effects of climate change, as well as meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.

The construction and equipping of the Casa de la Mujer Well, in Mejicanos, was developed through the articulation of technicians from OPAMSS, MARN and ANDA.

The event was chaired by Saúl Meléndez, Mayor of Mejicanos; architect Yolanda Bichara, Executive Director of OPAMSS; Fernando López, Minister of MARN; Rubén Alemán, President of ANDA and Erik Kristensen, delegate of the European Union's Euroclima+ project.

The AMSS in numbers

According to the Metro Atlas, prepared by OPAMSS, only 38% of the population of the AMSS receives drinking water seven days a week for 24 hours. More than 60% of the population in the eastern part of the AMSS receives water four times a week at the most and discontinuously. It is important to mention that the AMSS is supplied by 3 main water sources, and that is why it is essential to measure the amount of groundwater available:
1. Lempa River (outside the AMSS)
2. Northern Sector Aquifer (Outside the AMSS)
3. Conventional wells (Aquifers outside the AMSS)

Currently, the area where the monitoring wells are located has a low water recharge ranging from 0 to 320 milliliters of water per year.

Among the actions for groundwater stewardship are:
• Reforestation: Forest soils absorb 4 times more rainwater than pasture-covered soils.
• Creating green spaces in houses and communities: if the entire surface is covered by concrete, water cannot find its way to the groundwater.
• Not throwing rubbish into rivers and streams:
• Discharging solid and liquid wastes into rivers and streams can end up in groundwater aquifers and contaminate groundwater.

About EUROCLIMA+ Urban Water

Through this sector of the EUROCLIMA+ programme, implemented by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the French Development Agency (AFD), seven projects are being implemented. For more information on each one, please visit:


EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union and co-financed by the German federal government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as well as by the governments of France and Spain through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation.

The Programme's mission is to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoting mitigation, adaptation, resilience and climate investment. It is implemented according to the "Spirit of Team Europe" under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the AFD Group: the French Development Agency (AFD)/ Expertise France (EF), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).