Progreso Water System Project – Mexico

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY, SEXTO SOL, and the National Peace Corps Association.

El Progresso de ChiapasProgreso, Ejido Carizal, Municipio de Motozintla, Chiapas, Mexico

Community Description
A settlement of very modest homes in mountainous terrain SW of the city of Motozintla.  Poverty is the norm, and the conditions are somewhat rough for farming.

Problem Addressed
47 families have no reliable water source for domestic use and to irrigate subsistence crops. As is typical in this heavily deforested region, local springs in the Sierra Madre do not provide enough water to meet the needs of households located on ridges and mountainsides.

Many years ago, the people established a water line from a creek less than 2 km from their settlement.  A road project several years ago tore up the hillside, damaging the hose beyond repair, leaving them without enough water for their basic needs.  The water tank that had served the community was damaged in the Hurricane Stan disaster in 2005 and suffered further damage from earthquakes.
The people in this community are very poor with most families relying on growing corn for their sustenance. Their requests for help from the local authorities for the means to repair their water system year after year has not met with success.
The community needs a new hose line from the source and a more solid, reinforced tank from which the water will be distributed to the homes.  The people are anxious to have a reliable supply of water that will greatly reduce the hardship they now endure.  Excess water will be used to grow vegetables during the dry season.

Children of the village

Project Description
There is a reliable source of water in the headwaters of the river 10 kms to the SW. The men from the community will work together to lay a line of 2″ polyducto hose from the highest point of the river so that it has the pressure needed to bring water over the steep terrain to a large holding tank that will be built.

Polyducto hose is what is typically used in this region given that the terrain requires it to follow curves in the topography. The supplier has stated that it has a life of decades, especially when buried under the surface as planned. Given the distance from the source to the homes, it is much more cost-effective than PVC.
The men estimate that it will take 3 weeks to do the work of securing the hose which can only be delivered 3/4ths of the way to the site up a dirt road.   The men will carry it or use burros to get it the rest of the way.
In addition, two structures will be built. At the source, we will build a small structure to stabilize the uptake since it will have to withstand intense flooding during the rainy season. The large holding tank will be located on the highest point nearest to the community so that individual lines can reach all homes with good pressure. There will be a 300 meter 2″ hose coming from the tank onto which individual “brasaderas” valves will direct water to households.
We have added into the budget 1 roll of 1/2″ polyducto hose per household to help offset the cost to impoverished families that are suffering the impact of the loss of this year’s corn crop to drought and the loss of cash crops to climate change for the past two years. The project will also help people save their corn crops in the event that another drought occurs and to raise vegetable gardens that Sexto Sol will teach them to grow.

Vilagers by their farm

The holding tank will be built from a cinder block with rebar reinforced columns and beams according to time-tested construction methods in this region.  As part of the budget, we’ll hire an experienced builder whom we worked with who will supervise the building of the tank while the other men will provide labor on a voluntary basis.
The community has the necessary permission from the local ejido/authorities to use the river. They have agreed to form a water committee to oversee the equitable distribution of the water and to provide regular maintenance of the entire water system. Typically, people waste a lot of water in their daily use of it. For this reason, everyone will be required to put a valve on the end of their line and to keep it closed when not using it.
Project Impact
Approximately 250 people will benefit directly, not to mention all future inhabitants of the village for decades to come.

Project Director
Tamara Brennen, Phd

Village elders

Monitoring and Maintenance
The people and their new water board will be responsible for the care and maintenance of the new water system.  We are hoping the system will last for many decades to come, and that it will serve the villagers well as they grow and prosper.

This project is part of the Sierra Madre Water Program, a comprehensive effort to improve water access in the underserved and impoverished Sierra Madre de Chiapas region close to the border with Guatemala.  These projects are designed and implemented by Water Charity and a local NGO the Sexto Sol Center for community development.

As part of the project, The Sexto Sol Center will work with the women to give them new ways to economize the use of water. This will include establishing ways to use grey water to avoid the contamination that usually happens when they simply let used water pool on the ground. They will be taught about how to use grey water for watering family gardens. If all goes well, the families will also be provided with fruit trees that will be watered with grey water. There will also be information provided on how to keep the water clean and safe for domestic use.
Not long ago, our COO Averill Strasser and our ED Beverly Rouse visited the site and helped shore up the plans for this project as well as all the future projects in the Sierra Madre Water Program.  They can be seen enjoying themselves in the photos below.
This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion of the project CLICK HERE.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0 – This project has been funded through the generosity of the Paul Bechtner Foundation, with the help of other friends of Water Charity.

Additional donations will go toward funding other projects in Mexico.

Photo op Water Charity COO Averill Strasser & ED Beverly Rouse

Cooking facilities