Timeline of the Peru Project

The Peru Program is building a potable water system in la Pitajaya, Samne, Peru. The community of la Pitajaya  is divided into two parts due to a difference in elevation and a distance of 2-3 kilometres between the two parts – la Pitajaya Alta and la Pitajaya Baja – each with its own water system.

Pusunchás Program, 2015-Present

The team first visited Pusunchás in summer of 2015. During the following school year, they conducted a logistical, financial, and technical analysis on the feasibility of the building a water pipeline in Pusunchás, officially partnering with them in December 2015. This past summer, the travel team completed a full technical assessment, working with community leadership to collect geographic and water quality data, as well as measurements for the planned pipeline routes. They also purchased the water source for the system, and helped the water committee organize community engagement and investment. With 120 families and a pipeline that spans across 20 kilometers, Pusunchás is Peru’s largest project to date.

This year, the team is examining the collected data and designing the water system, as well as upping our educational and fundraising efforts. For our most ambitious project, the team is trying out a new, more rigorous modeling software to determine pipeline characteristics, as well as using CREO software to model the structural components of the system, including a 20,000L reservoir.

Samne Program, 2011-2015

In 2011, EWB-PU opened a new project in the town of Samne, Peru. That summer, 6 students and a professional mentor visited and assessed the town for potential projects, jointly establishing a list of community priorities with the local residents. While in Samne, the team was approached by residents of La Pitajaya, a small settlement on the outskirts of Samne. The community expressed a desire for a potable water system to replace the Moche River as their source of water. The need for clean drinking water is a constant problem in La Pitajaya; even when the water is boiled, mining waste in the river, which likely includes heavy metals and other toxins, remains. The latest assessment conducted by the Samne health post reported a high number of bacterial and parasitic infections (1244 cases in the municipality in 2010) directly caused by drinking contaminated water, with young children being the most heavily-affected demographic. The lack of an effective water distribution system forces residents to spend considerable time each day boiling water, and traveling back and forth between their homes and the source. 

In response, the Peru team conducted an assessment trip in January 2012, sending five students and a technical mentor to better assess the community and engineering requirements of a potable water system. Throughout the spring of 2012, the team worked to design a system that will pipe water from a local source to 36 houses in La Pitajaya. Through communication with local contacts, they also continued to test water quality and source flow rates on site, and to prepare a community education program to improve health and hygiene.

In August 2012, the team returned to La Pitajaya to begin installation of the first phase of the water system. This included a spring box to capture the clean water from the source, parts of a  pipeline to transport the water 5km to a reservoir uphill of the community, and the foundation for a reservoir site. In the next implemetnation trip, the team will add a pipe network bringing water from the reservoir to 14 individual tapstands for the houses in the upper part of town. Over the course of future trips, a separate system for the lower part of town will be completed as well. Additionally, water treatment will be introduced into the system to further reduce the incidence of water-related illness in the community.

In July 2013 a team of 7 members of the Perú team travelled to la Pitajaya to complete the potable water system for Alta. We are happy to report that potable water now flows in a tapstand at every house in la Pitajaya Alta! The team spent a busy six weeks trenching approximately 3 km of the main and distribution pipeline, working alonside the local mason to construct the tapstands, pressure break tank and to repair the spring box and connecting the laid pipe to the tapstands. Additionally the team conducted an Assessment Trip in la Pitajaya Baja and gathered a lot of data ready for this academic year when the Baja water system will be designed and planned. The Community Team had also prepared a set of 13 lesson plans on water, hygiene, human health and environment and the Travel Team presented these plans to the Director of the local school in Samne who has incorporated them into the current curriculum at the school.

In July 2014 the team returned to la Pitajaya to begin construction on the water system in la Pitajaya Baja. Five weeks into the six week long trip, the water system was complete. THERE IS NOW WATER FLOWING THROUGH A TAPSTAND AT EVERY HOUSE IN LA PITAJAYA! Additionally the team had time to connect two more houses to the Alta water system and conduct maintenance work on the Alta system.

In Summer 2015 the team returned to la Pitajaya to assess and close out the project, and began looking for new projects in the area!

One of our first meetings with the Water Committee in la Pitajaya!

Celebrating water through the first tapstand in Baja in summer 2014!

Huamanzaña Program, 2005-2011

The Peru Team is Princeton University’s oldest Engineers Without Borders team, with a 7-year history of working in the area around Trujillo, Peru; prior to the recent partnership with Samne, students participated in another EWB project. Huamanzaña, a small farming village of about 140 people, lies at the base of the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the coastal highlands of northern Peru. An isolated, rural town, Huamanzaña is characterized by poverty, misuse of natural resources, and abandonment by the central government in faraway Lima. It lacks easy access to healthcare or secondary education, is not connected to the electrical grid, and is highly dependent on an agricultural economy.

Engineers Without Borders Princeton University has worked with this community since 2005, completing four major projects: a communal bathroom facility (2005), a solar power system (2006), a smokeless biomass stove project (2007-08), and an improved water distribution system (2009). In the summer of 2010, the EWB-PU Peru team concluded with a community education program, comprised of a series of workshops focused on children, women, and the community as a whole, and facilitated the formation of a water committee to take responsibility for the upkeep of the system and ensure the sustainability of the projects once EWB Princeton has left the site. The team also performed maintenance on all four previous projects.