Wait! What happened to your project in Pucutuni? I thought that you were visiting Peru to finalize your design for a water system in Pucutuni.

You’re correct. We’re putting the finishing touches on the design and logistics for a water system in Pucutuni. We’re also looking ahead to our next project. By selecting our next project now, students can spend the 2014-2015 academic year designing the project. So, without further ado, our next project will be to design and build a water system in Pampa Chiri.

Pampa Chiri is a small Quechua community of 18 families (75-80 people) scattered along a seasonal creek. The community is located at 14,500 ft, and their planned water source is a spring at 14,900 ft. A short walk to the top of the valley (at 15,300 ft) provides a panoramic view of the Andes Mountains including the famous Ausengate. We first learned about this community on Monday afternoon when we asked the municipal engineer for recommendations for a next project. He answered without hesitation: Pampa Chiri. His recommendation was based on several factors. First, the community had an urgent need for a water system. Currently, they pull microbe-contaminated water from a seasonal stream. Second, the project was similar in scope and size to our existing project in Pucutuni. The engineer offered the guide services of a colleague, and we promised to meet in the morning for the trek to visit the community.

Warning: this paragraph is not for the faint of heart. Did I say trek?!? Tuesday morning was indeed a trek.
Step #1: A 15 minute ride from the ADRA center to Pitumarca to pick up the muni representative
Step #2: A 1 hour drive by SUV on a narrow winding road, ascending a deep canyou. (The views were spectacular.) Fortuitously, the president happened to be at the trail head when we arrived.
Step #3: A 1.25 hour hike to the picturesque community of Pampa Chiri, followed by a 45 minute hike to the proposed water source.

The community had all the right ingredients for a great project (except, perhaps, the long hike). First, it had a compelling need for clean, reliable water. Second, it had a year-round water source in the form of a spring at the top of the community. (In fact, two separate springs are available for use.) We channeled the water, then measured a flow rate of approximately 1 L/sec. Even after accounting for seasonal effects, we estimated that it would be sufficient to meet the needs of the community. Third, the community showed great initiative in trying to address their need. They had purchased pipe and dug a reservoir and trench. Unfortunately, they lacked the expertise to successfully complete the project. This gave us confidence that they were committed to the project. Fourth, we developed a good rapport with the community president who promised the support of the community in building and maintaining the water system.

Last night, Diego and I stayed up late to write a contract for the new project. This afternoon we joined the community president (who had walked all afternoon to meet us) at the municipality headquarters to sign our contract. The mayor has promised to sign the contract tomorrow morning, and we hope to collect Plinio’s signature (on behalf of ADRA) on Friday afternoon. Now for the part that you’ve all been awaiting: pictures!


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