Installation of new wells and hand pumps for Indigenous families in the Andean community of Copatamaya is now complete.

Through collaborative efforts with our Bolivian in-country partners, Suma Jayma, and financial support from The Spirit of Christ Church based in Colorado, the installation of new wells and hand pumps for 11 families of Copatamaya was completed successfully.

The community of Copatamaya in the municipality of Caqueaviri is located high above sea level on the Bolivian Altiplano.

Life before project completion

Prior to completion of this project, these families carried water – on foot – long distances daily from open, contaminated wells. Contaminated water results in gastrointestinal diseases among other waterborne illnesses that can lead to death.

Often, this burden falls hardest on women, elderly, and children, who are responsible for collecting, carrying, and storing water. This is especially hard during the Southern winter, which is very cold at 13,000 ft above sea level. The physical hardship of carrying water limits the amount of water available to families for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing, etc. Walking long distances through cold, dry, and dusty air during the winter can pose another level of challenges, causing acute respiratory infections, which are prevalent among women who haul water.

Access to reliable water

The wells and hand pumps project for Copatamaya was finalized in December 2023. During construction, each family contributed unskilled labor, and with guidance from Suma Jayma technicians, the families assisted with digging the wells near their homes and helped construct the necessary protected well components in preparation of the hand pump installation. Suma Jayma technicians completed the hand pump installations and provided training to the families for maintenance and proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices. Educating the community on proper WASH practices is essential to ensure that clean water remains safe for consumption. Involving the community in the construction and maintenance processes helps ensure the long-term sustainability and ownership of these water resources.

This project provided access to reliable water for 11 families, positively impacting over 55 people.

WEFTA has partnered with Suma Jayma since 2004. We continue collaborating to find effective solutions and work together to improve access to safe reliable water for the rural Indigenous families of the Bolivian altiplano.

Learn more:

Wells and Hand Pumps for Indigenous Communities of the Bolivian Altiplano

Protected Groundwater Wells for Indigenous Families Program