Huancarani Catchment and Storage System – Peru

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, scroll down to the bottom of this page.


Huancarani, Pucará District, Lampa Province, Puno Region, Perú   

Community Description

Huancarani is a dispersed community lying at the base of the hills of the Pucará district at an elevation of 3,949 m (12,956 ft) above sea level. Some families live on the hillside while others live on the plains. This community of 33 families (150 people) relies mainly on cattle husbandry and a small amount of agriculture as their source of income.

The people of Huancarani have a strong sense of community and work together to improve their way of life. They have implemented various projects to improve milk production of their cattle including building infrastructures like drinking troughs and barns to protect the animals from the harsh weather conditions of the altiplano.

Problem Addressed

There is currently a water system in place that provides water to the community for 1 hour per day. However, because the flow rate is so low the water does not reach most of the houses on the plains and the families have to fetch water from open springs and rivers. Drinking contaminated water from open sources causes stomach problems, especially in children under the age of 5. Diarrheal sicknesses caused from unsafe drinking water contribute to the issues of malnutrition and anemia in young children who are already prone to these health complications due to the fact that they live at a high altitude and can’t always consume a diverse and nutritious diet.

Project Description

This project is to guarantee a supply of safe drinking water to the entire community by installing a catchment box and storage tank.

A cement catchment box will be constructed over an existing large spring and the water will then flow downhill to a 6 m3 cement storage tank that will be built on a reinforced concrete platform. The storage tank will then be connected to the existing water distribution system to increase the flow rate and water supply to the community.

Water Charity funds will be used to buy the necessary materials and skilled labor to build the storage tank. Community members will provide the labor for the considerable excavation that is needed and the materials required to build the catchment box and connect the new storage tank to the existing water system. The construction of the catchment box and storage tank will take 20 days.

Project Impact

150 people in 33 households will benefit from this project.

Community Organization

Asociación Pro-DIA will work with the community members of Huancarani on project implementation.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project

The project will be administered by Ralph Bolton, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru,’62-’65), and founder and director of The Chijnaya Foundation. Work will be done under the direction of Chijnaya’s operational arm, Asociación Pro-DIA, a legally-constituted Peruvian counterpart.

On-the-ground work is being managed by Kimmy Mazza, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru,’16-’18). The work of Ralph and Kimmy with Peace Corps Peru spans over half a century. This project is a part of the Altiplano Water Program – Peru

Monitoring and Maintenance

The community has a formally recognized water committee that manages the current water system. The committee along with the community members will be trained on the proper administration, operation, and maintenance of the water system. These trainings will include how to clean and disinfect the water system, how to make an annual work plan, how to calculate the monthly rate to charge for water, how to collect funds to maintain the system, and how to conduct repairs and perform replacements when necessary.

Project Funding

This project was funded through the generosity of the Paul Bechtner Foundation.  Donations using the button below will be used for other projects in Peru.

Conclusion of Huancarani Catchment and Storage System – Peru

This project has been completed under the direction of Ralph Bolton, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru,’62-’65), and founder and director of The Chijnaya Foundation.  Work was done under the direction of Chijnaya’s operational arm, Asociación Pro-DIA, a legally-constituted Peruvian counterpart. On-the-ground work was managed by Kimmy Mazza, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru,’16-’18).

To read about the beginning of the project, scroll to the top of this page

The project was to install a catchment box and storage tank to provide safe water to the community.

Kimmy reports:

After many months of hard work, the Huancarani Catchment Box and Storage Tank Project has been completed and the community now has double the amount of running water than they had before.

One of the most interesting and important steps before starting the construction of this project was making a payment to Pachamama (mother earth in the local language of Quechua). Many cultures on the altiplano of Peru are very connected to the earth and making payments to the earth is a very important part of their culture.

This project involved using a new water source, so a special payment was made in order to ensure the longevity and success of the water source and project. The ceremony involved blessing and then burying various items including an alpaca fetus, coca leaves, wine, and flowers next to the new water source where the catchment box was built.

Once the payment was made, local skilled laborers constructed the catchment box and built both the metal and wooden frames for the storage tank. The entire community came together to fill the frames with cement, which is a labor-intensive process that took about 4 hours of continuous work. Community members also excavated over 350 meters of ditches that were needed in order to install pipes and connect the new storage tank to the existing community water distribution system. 

The hard work and finished project were celebrated during the inauguration of the water system with delicious food, heartfelt speeches and of course the breaking of a champagne bottle over the new storage tank. Many people reflected on the hard work that went into the project and their gratitude that their project proposal became a reality. Water is a scarce resource in Huancarani and having access to twice the amount of water than before has been a vast improvement for the community. 

We are grateful to Ralph, Kimmy, and the administration and staff of Asociación Pro-DIA for completing this excellent project.