During the summer of 2021, Mano a Mano initiated a set of integrated projects in the municipality of Punata, which includes two water projects: the 3rd expansion of the Laguna Sulti Reservoir, and drilling a well in the community of Chirusi Rosario.

Our Bolivian counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo continues to focus its work on this integrated project, creating access to water for Punata’s drought-stricken farming communities. The 3rd expansion of the Laguna Sulti Reservoir, a critical resource for hundreds of the region’s subsistence farm families, is nearing completion. During the past weekend the first rain of the season expanded the Laguna Sulti River from a shallow stream to swiftly flowing water, which enters the reservoir through a cement channel (shown below).

Laguna Sulti River flows into expanded reservoir, mid-November 2021.

Expanded reservoir begins to fill with seasonal rain flowing from the Laguna Sulti River.

When the reservoir is full, the overflow will re-enter the River and wend its way to Bolivia’s tropics. Nuevo Mundo staff celebrated along with residents of the surrounding region, grateful to have completed the heavy reservoir work in time to capture the rain, prevent flooding, and know that farmers will have water for their livestock and crops.

Drilling Water Wells in Partnership with Rural Bolivian Communities

Chirusi Rosario Well Completed; Yields Potable Water

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

This well, also one component of the Punata Regional Complex project, has been drilled and now makes potable water available to 212 families (about 1,300 people).

Machine operators and local residents watch intently as water begins to flow at the Chirusi well.

Currently, Nuevo Mundo personnel are building a water tank that will feed well water to pipes connected to each family’s home.

Pampa Grande Well Challenges Engineers; Then Success Results

The Pampa Grande well now provides clean drinking water to 250 subsistence farm families. But weeks of uncertainty and headaches plagued our engineers and machine operators before they achieved success. First, Bolivia’s current experience with an increase in cases of COVID-19 has led to increased restrictions, as we focus on the health and safety of our personnel and everyone in the communities in which we work.

Machine breakdowns, always a source of frustration, added to the challenges. The mechanic in this brief video skillfully welds the pumping machine that draws sludge from the well. Mano a Mano’s heavy equipment is critical to our work, and having skilled personnel and the necessary tools (like the portable welder in this video) to be able to maintain and repair our equipment is essential.

Finally, after days of pumping yielded only murky water, this project became a resounding success. Abundant potable water began to emerge from the well last week.

Abundant potable water began to emerge from the Pampa Grande well last week.

The staff and community residents celebrated when they saw that the pump was bringing up an abundant supply of CLEAN, CLEAR water. Now…on to the next well drilling project in Punata Central.

Water Projects in Pictures: Nuevo Mundo Projects in Recent Months