Phase 1: Cement Rings for Wells.

The first part of the project was to stabilize the wells in the local villages of Sapilica and K’asa Puncu . These villages are among the poorest in the region. This was Phase  1. We needed to do this to prevent the wells from collapsing during the rainy season. The picture below shows what a normal well would look like before Phase 1.  It shows local residents gathering water at one of the wells. Note the lack of a lid for protection of the well water. The entire area around the well is mostly sand and would collapse during the rainy season. Phase I was to provide the materials and know how on how to build and install cement rings and a lid to stabilize the wells.

Funding for this project began. Requests went out to neighbours, friends and relatives. Soon money began to come in. Thanks to generous funding from the church families at Victoria Avenue Baptist in Belleville and Campbellford Baptist, the Rotary Club of Belleville, friends, relatives  and neighbours, the project has been able to continue.  Phase 1 began in November, 2009. After the molds were made, clinics were held to teach the interested families how to make the cement rings. The Project provided the cement and iron rebar and the well owners provided the water, the sand, the gravel and the required labour to make the rings. “Sweat Equity” is an important part in this project. As of November 2016 183 families now have wells stabilized with cement rings and a lid.

Phase 2: Hygiene Workshops

Phase 2 was to hold workshops and clinics where the importance of hand hygiene, mouth hygiene and basic accounting was taught. The teachers were local nurses and an accountant, all of whom volunteered their time. As a follow up the need arose for the provision of a kitchen sink in each of the family homes to enable improved family hygiene. The project now provides along with the molds for the cement rings, a mold has been developed that enabled the families to build a kitchen sink.

Phase 3: Water Storage and Filtration

Phase 3 was to provide a sustainable means to filter the pathogens and the bacteria in the water and provide a means to store water in the family homes. The first filter used was the Biosand filter developed by the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology CAWST from Calgary, Alberta. In May, 2010, a team from CAWST came to Cochabamba and taught the locals how to make the biosand filters. The Project is indebted to CAWST for their generosity and for also donating 2 filter molds and several tools and other important equipment for making the BioSand Filters.

However, although a proven technology, an effective filter for much of the world where safe water is a problem and a promising solution for the project, the Biosand Filters did not work in this application. These filters need to be used every day to be effective. The people in the villages frequently migrate for periods of time for additional work in order to live. As a result, the project has shifted to “candle” filters as shown in the picture below.


These have provided the families with a more sustainable solution. In addition to the filters the project also provides a small plastic 300 litre elevated storage tank so that the families have a means to store this filtered water in their homes.

Phase 4: Rain Harvesting

Phase 4 was the installation of rain harvesting equipment for the schoolhouse in Sapilica, which was completed in October, 2011. In 2012 A rain harvesting system was installed at the Parko Kjocha Church, and the same year we constructed a 12.000 litre tank for the church in Alto Paraiso and a 13,000 litre (in ground) tank for the church at Parko Kjocha. An in ground tank was constructed in Alto Paraíso (that is at outskirts of Cochabamba city), and the last one constructed was in CHALLWA MAYU village.

Phase 5: Expanding the Project to Neighbouring Villages

The project has now assisted 195 families to plan, build and maintain a safe drinking water system. The system now includes: cement rings to stabilize the well, a lid, a pump, a kitchen sink, a 300 litre storage tank and two “candle” filters for each family.

One of the unique features of this project is the partnership that is formed to build these wells between the Bolivian Water Project and the families. We provide support in the form of educating the villages on how to make the cement rings, sinks, and pumps along with workshops on hygiene and better agriculture practices. We provide the cement molds, tools to make the pumps and approximately $260 CAD per well for materials. The families provide an additional $110 CAD for materials plus all of the “sweat equity”. Not insignificant when you consider it can take an estimated 160 hours of the families’ own labour to complete a well, including, digging the well, build and install the cement rings, build and install a cap, build and install a pump, build a sink and install a storage tank. The collaboration is simply miraculous.

The need is ongoing and we rely on donations to continue the work. Other villages in the Vacas valley are interested in what has been done and would like the same assistance. Updates will be posted to this site as the project continues.