Parina Community Spring Project – Peru
The project is being implemented under the direction of Kristen Gunther, a graduate student at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and Suma Marka, a Peruvian NGO operating out of Puno. To read the full details about the project, CLICK HERE.
The community of Parina, located in the rural southeast region of the Andes Mountains, adjacent to Lake Titicaca, currently struggles to access clean water sources. Parina is a small rural community situated approximately 12,500 feet above sea level and located outside the regional capital of Puno. Due to the rural location of Parina, community members lack access to clean water sources and struggle to obtain health-related services.
Parina primarily obtains its drinking water from unprotected springs contaminated by human and animal waste, and unmaintained wells built by the government. The primary spring is a location in which the community obtains drinking and cooking water and takes their animals to drink. While water from this spring is initially pure and potable, environmental contamination and lack of maintenance leads to unclean drinking water in the spring.
The structure of this spring is not ideal for preventing contamination of groundwater and perpetuating water-related diseases. Elevated levels of E. coli and fecal coliforms have been consistently found in water from the spring. These indicator microbes show bacterial contamination likely to lead to gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea in Parina, especially among vulnerable children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
The project will start with the purchase of construction materials and equipment in the nearby city of Puno, and their transport by truck to Parina. Community members will provide certain materials that they currently have within the community, such as wood for the spring box frame and construction tools.
A local professional who has experience in constructing improved springs and wells will be hired to oversee the construction process of the catchment box. Community members in Parina will provide the labor.
To initiate construction the current spring will be excavated until an impermeable soil layer is reached. Gravel and stones will be placed above the soil layer to prevent erosion and further ensure a clean water source. A cement wall with an overflow tube at the top will be placed on the open wall of the spring to close the spring off. A second tube will be placed towards the bottom of the wall, approximately 50 centimeters from the ground, providing a connection to the catchment box. The water will flow from the protected spring into the catchment box where it will then be accessible to the community through a tap.
In addition, a cover will be constructed from local materials to ensure no contamination enters the spring from above, and to allow entry into the spring for cleaning and maintenance.
After the initial protection of the spring is completed, the catchment box will be constructed. It will contain an outlet tube approximately 50 centimeters from the ground with a tap to allow for water collection. An overflow tube will be placed 50 centimeters from the top of the catchment box to ensure that the catchment box does not overflow.
All tubes will have a screen on the end to ensure no debris will enter the spring or catchment box and all water leaving the catchment box will be free of particles.
A cover for the catchment box will also be constructed with a top allowing for easy access to clean and maintain it.
Finally, the spring and catchment box will be disinfected with a chlorine solution before use. Community members will be trained on maintenance to ensure a clean water source in the future and the sustainability of all structures. Monthly water quality monitoring will continue in order to maintain water quality.
During the wet season, this project will benefit 49 people in 7 households, plus students at a small elementary school with 30 students. In the dry season, other water sources dry up and an additional 35 people in 7 households will use spring.
This project uses simple proven methods that can be replicated using locally available materials. Residents will be trained in construction and maintenance, thus ensuring sustainability.
In summary, this is a necessary project to prevent further contamination of the spring and provide clean drinking water to the Parina community. Its benefits will be seen in the measurable reduction of illness.
This project has now been fully funded through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative.
We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Kristen of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund other projects in Peru.
This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.