Wastewater Treatment Project for Palma Soriano, Cuba:
Assessment of Cultural and Ecological Conditions
The Palma Soriano’s Wastewater Treatment Project is a proposal to use cultural identity as a trigger to reverse ecological degradation. The research methodology draws from environmental, social and urban analyses to unveil the best strategy to address the ecological, river restoration, agricultural, and water treatment challenges in Palma Soriano, southeast Cuba. The primary objectives are to provide a better quality of life and to create new opportunities for the local community to reconnect with natural cycles of water and the cultivation of their own land. The research shows that stopping the processes of desertification combined with forest restoration of the upper of the Cauto River, where Palma Soriano is located, is critical to the achievement of these objectives. The project promotes the strength and capacity of local people to protect their own environment by proposing a community-based master plan for public spaces, cultivation areas, new sanitary and storm water treatment infrastructure, and restored natural landscapes on the Cauto River. The project includes natural wastewater treatment, reforestation, community urban agriculture and a public commons along the river. This project will produce healthy water recycling, provide a potable water source for the city, encourage ecological restoration of the riparian zone, and provide new opportunities for food production. It is derived from and designed to preserve the cultural identity of the local community, and to restore the essential balance between the community’s need to sustain itself and the natural environment.