Desperate for basics, Venezuelans tap well

Caracas residents are taking matters into their own hands in their fight to survive amid a lack of basic essential services... even tapping into a rainwater lagoon for water.

Reuters took the plunge with one group of residents siphoning water off a mountain to sustain their neighborhood. They are among scores who no longer receive goods and services, including water, once subsidized by President Nicolas Maduro's Socialist Party.

That ruling party has seen a six-year economic collapse despite Venezuela's oil wealth, and the decay of state-run utilities has led to constant shortages.

Venezuelans now have to pay the equivalent of several months' salary for a few days of water, gas or cellphone because private alternatives are priced in dollars.

To one of the shortages - This group has taken the extraordinary step of building a system to take advantage of water from a rainwater lagoon that built up at a stalled tunnel construction project.

They used 1,300 meters of hoses for the network and the residents contributed 10 dollars each to buy parts.

Yraima Moscoso was among those who led the charge.

"We decided one day to go into the tunnel. I met with the community and presented the project and they accepted. We found that inside the tunnel there were a lot of hoses and that this work had been abandoned for years... So we decided to take the hoses out and deploy them in the community to create water pumps, where people can get water."

Residents link hoses between different communities to share water or carry bottles back-and-forth for several kilometers.

While water costs less than a dollar per month at subsidized rates, cisterns can cost $100, which is nearly 50 times the monthly minimum wage.

Marcos Figuera says he owes a debt of gratitude for those who helped create the water system.

"Thank God we have that well, without that well it would be very difficult to get water. Thank you to the people who worked there for extracting the hoses and installing a pipe to have water. I hope the neighborhood can have water, and at least that installation will give water to the people who do not have it."

Organizers say they can't spend their time complaining about their lack of vital goods. Instead, the dire circumstances has led them to focus on solutions in their fight to survive.