This project was to improve one community spring in Parina by building a protective structure and a cement catchment box. The protected spring provides a clean water source to the community and nearby elementary school, while the catchment box allows for increased water storage and distribution throughout the year.
During the course of this project the community was able to come together to clean the existing spring, excavate space for the new catchment box, effectively protect the natural water spring, and build a cement catchment box with a corrugated metal door for maintenance access. The cleaning process of the natural spring began in March, 2011 with approximately 10 community members working to remove plants, algae, rocks and trash from within the spring.
After the spring had been cleaned and a diversion canal was dug to reroute flowing water, construction of the cement catchment box began. The materials were bought in the nearby cities of Ilave and Puno and delivered to Parina.
Construction was completed by one community construction professional and another experienced community member. These two men worked to implement a plan for the catchment box developed by a local engineer, Suma Marka, and the community.
The cement catchment box was constructed to measure 1.25 meters by 1.23 meters according to the measurements of the Triplay wood used to build the box frame. Iron re-enforcement bars were placed at centimeter intervals within the catchment box to ensure stability.
The cement was then poured into the frame to complete the catchment box. After the cement dried, a corrugated metal top with two doors and a lock was secured on top of the cement box. The design of the metal top allows for easy access to the catchment box for regular maintenance. The design of the metal top also ensures that the catchment box is locked and inaccessible to the public to prevent contamination.
After construction of the cement catchment box, the top and wall were constructed to protect the natural spring. In order to construct the top of the spring community members collected Eucalyptus wood to use as the frame. The frame was covered by a screen and dry material before cement was added to complete the protected spring top. This was a method of construction preferred by the community using local materials and cement. The cement top ensures that no debris enters the spring from above.
In addition, a cement wall with a small door was created to enclose the spring, while allowing access for maintenance. A 2” wide PVC tube was placed between the spring and the catchment box and covered with dirt to allow sufficient water flow into the catchment box. Within the catchment box a 2” wide PVC tube was inserted with a connection to a ½” PVC tube and tap to allow water to exit the catchment box. This exit serves as a collection point for the community while reducing the amount of microorganisms that enter the catchment box.
To complete construction of the protected spring and catchment box construction workers placed 2” PVC outlet tubes into the top of the cement catchment box to prevent overflow. Community members plan to add an additional tube to the catchment box and a cement trough several meters from the spring to provide drinking water for farm animals.
The community participation in decision making during this project aimed to construct a product that the community developed and will therefore maintain. Community members in Parina were very excited to assist with cleaning the spring, purchasing the materials and constructing the well.
While the women in the community were not involved in the construction process, they assisted with spring clean-up and were happy to be involved in the project. Community members expressed their gratitude for this project and are very happy to have a clean water source close to their homes. This has initiated their desire to improve other community springs and poorly maintained wells throughout Parina.
Overall, this project was successful at engaging the community to provide a clean water source which will ultimately lead to improved health. Thank you for your support and partnership to complete this protected spring for the community of Parina!
We are grateful to Kristen for completing the project and to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding.