San José Xacxamayo Rainwater Catchment System Project – Mexico

San José Xacxamayo, Puebla, Mexico

Community Description
The community of San José Xacxamayo is situated southeast in the municipality of Puebla, México with an elevation of 2,000 meters above sea level. It is perched on the hills above Puebla, isolated from the rest of the city. There are approximately 1,000 residents in the town.

The community is in a temperate semi-humid zone with 727 mm of annual precipitation. The rainy season lasts from the months of May to October.

San José Xacxamayo Rainwater Catchment System Project - Mexico

Problem Addressed
The community is separated from the municipality of Puebla by Lake Valsequillo, which, due to its remote location and high costs to transport water, faces shortages. The little water they utilize comes from nearby wells that have become contaminated through daily activities, such as inadequate sanitation systems.

Children are responsible to collect water from wells, a 3 km distance on rough terrain, starting as young as 6 years of age. Due to obstacles faced within the community, such as high poverty, lack of infrastructure, and time allotted for daily activities required in securing water, their economic productivity and educational advancement has been impeded.

Harvesting rainwater has been used in parts of the community as long-term, economical, sustainable solutions to meet their daily water demands in the dry season.

Project Description
This project is to build 3 rainwater capture and storage systems, each consisting of a tank of over 10,000 liters and the appropriate gutters, piping, and hardware. In addition, 20 water filtration systems will be installed.

The cisterns will be located at places identified as the most vulnerable within the community.

Each tank will be built below ground using cement, brick, sand, gravel, and wire, and covered by a concrete top. An opening will provide access to draw water using buckets as well as to permit entry for the cleaning of the system. The work will take 4-5 days to complete.

Participants will be trained on the construction and maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems as well as the safe collection and management of water resources.

Participants will each begin by digging holes of 2.75 x 2.75 x 1.9 meters. The construction work will be done by local skilled workers, with the help of members of the community for the unskilled labor.

Gutters will be placed on the roof and then connected to the tank by PVC pipe.

The filtration is accomplished using a ceramic filter with a colloidal silver coating. Three will be installed at the locations of the new cisterns, and 17 others will be placed in locations where there is already adequate storage capacity but no filtration capability.

Each filter, produced by CATIS-Mexico, is a low-maintenance ceramic water filter that removes 99.999% of bacteria and pathogens. Each filter produces about 24 liters of clean water per day, and will last 2 to 3 years.

Project Impact
123 people will benefit from the project.

San José Xacxamayo Rainwater Catchment System Project - Mexico

Monitoring and Maintenance
The cisterns will have a life-span of 30 years on average. However, if well maintained, with periodic draining, cleaning, and re-surfacing, they can even last longer.

In addition, the roofs and gutters must be cleaned each year before the start of the rainy season.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Elena Neibaur

The project will enable the community to be self-sufficient, maintain safe water standards, and ensure the availability of water into the future.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date


Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will give you “naming rights”, if that is something you would like.

Any contributions in excess of the Dollar Amount of the Project will be allocated to other projects directed by this PCV and/or projects of other PCVs in this country.

Dollar Amount Needed

This project has been finished.  To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.