In 2005 a Bolivian subsistence farmer in whose community Mano a Mano had built a school made this plea along with his neighbors. “Our plants produce little or die of thirst. A reservoir would hold enough rain so all of us could irrigate our fields. Then we would have enough food for our children and some produce to sell in the city.”

The need was starkly obvious. After a careful review of our capabilities, we felt confident that we could partner with these farmers and their local government to build a reservoir. Since then, Mano a Mano has constructed 562 water projects, including nine water reservoirs, that serve over 60,000 people.

Dedicating Mano a Mano’s water reservoir in Maldonado, Bolivia in 2019. The Maldonado water reservoir makes it possible for 96 subsistence farm families (about 600 people) to irrigate 250 acres of cropland and to water their livestock, as well as having water for household use.

Expanding the Laguna Sulti Water Reservoir (for a 3rd Time)

Our determination continues: to make water available to the greatest possible number of Bolivia’s subsistence farm families. A third expansion of the Laguna Sulti Reservoir, a deepening of another section of the reservoir base so it can hold more water, began in July 2021. Community residents are working hand in hand with Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo staff to scoop up dirt from the basin, then truck it for about three miles to the site on which it will be used to build up the roadbed for our aviation program’s new runway.

The roadbed for Mano a Mano’s runway in Laguna Sulti.

The completed expansion of this 25-acre section of the reservoir will look much like the deepening project that was completed last year. St. Paul Rotary and Rotary International helped fund this major project, along with the Punata municipal government and the Laguna Sulti farm families themselves.

Excavator loading reservoir basin dirt at Laguna Sulti – August 2021.

We expect this 3rd expansion to be completed by December, in time for seasonal rains to begin filling it.

Drilling Water Wells

Our most recent addition to these major projects is the drilling of deep wells that yield potable water, a very scarce commodity in Bolivia. Within three months of completing our first well, we received requests from another dozen communities, so they too could have a reliable source of safe water. We have since drilled 21 deep wells while carefully following pandemic restrictions.

Mano a Mano’s well-drilling equipment in Chirusi, Bolivia.

Our most recent well in Chirusi, Bolivia will provide water for 212 families (about 1,200 people), which will be piped into their houses, a first in any of these rural communities. After tasting the water, Chirusi residents said, “Now we will celebrate Independence Day (August 6), thanking and praising Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) with drinks of water that will make us healthy”.

Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo staff working on the Chirusi water well – July 2021.

Learn More About Mano a Mano Water Projects