Agua Yaku: Simple Water Solutions

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Volunteer in Bolivia with Agua Yaku

Simple Water Solutions (SWS) (now called Agua:Yaku) is an Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission (EFCCM) project based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia that teaches simple, inexpensive water well drilling techniques and other appropriate technologies that improve the health, welfare, and economic production of small farm families and communities in Bolivia. More than 40 percent of Bolivia’s population lacks access to proper sanitation, and 37 percent lacks drinkable water. The goal of this project is to provide training and tools that will allow rural peasant farm families in Bolivia to inexpensively drill and maintain their own family and community water wells (true sustainable grassroots development).

Simple Water Solutions Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Photo © 2003-forever Daniel Beams.

Community wells are one way to provide clean water, but many farm families must still carry water for hours a day to distant farms for individual use. Family wells reduce the cost of labor associated with access to clean water, encourages better health and hygiene, and improves the production potential of small farms.

Appropriate technology applied to water well drilling – the EFCCM Simple Water Solutions project is using an extremely efficient and inexpensive manual drilling method developed by a agricultural missionary with many years of experience in Bolivia. In the previous five years, his project has drilled over 2000 wells using this technique (each well drilled using this method costs between $100 and $200). This method uses locally available materials to construct the drilling rig, well casing, sediment filter, and hand pump.

Water clubs are formed among families in communities soliciting a partnership with the project. Drilling rigs are loaned to the community and club leaders are taught drilling methods, pump construction, maintenance, etc. Water clubs reduce the cost of wells by sharing labor. Club members cooperate to drill one or several wells on each member’s farm. Casing and pump materials are purchased by each family (approximately $100-$200 dollars per well).

In addition to wells, we can teach and facilitate the construction of water storage systems, wind mills, irrigation methods, appropriate agricultural techniques, etc.

Project methodology does not create dependency on outside resources, but rather promotes true sustainable grassroots development. With training, project participants use their own knowledge and resources to improve the health of their families and the income generated from their own farm land. With increased family income, children have greater opportunities to finish their education and escape the generational cycle of poverty.

The water well drilling project has an annual budget of $30,000. This covers the cost of an office/workshop base in Santa Cruz, drilling rigs and equipment, transportation, field expenses, and employee costs. The project can be expanded to reach more distant communities and even other countries in Latin America and around the world. See our website if you would like to donate or volunteer.

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