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In Peru, WEFTA has carried out a number of projects with the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Urubamba, including designing and building a wastewater system for the 84 families living in the community called Illary, (Quechua for New Dawn).

To see water and sanitation facts, please visit: washfunders.org

In Peru, more than 34% of the population lives below the poverty line, with 35% of the rural population lacking access to both safe water and basic sanitation. For many years, the villages along the river have simply dumped their raw, untreated sewage waste directly into the Urubamba River. As these communities have grown, the once great river where locals were able to fish for large trout and bathe has become something to avoid and where no one bothers fishing anymore as the fish populations have been decimated by the contamination. Families in other locations were forced to allow their waste and wash water to flow down the streets and had crude cesspools to dispose of sewage, resulting in health risks for the families, especially the children.

By the end of 2004, the project in Illary had been completed and had sparked interest in other communities along the Urubamba river valley for similar disposal systems. With assistance from WEFTA, hopefully these communities will soon have wastewater treatment plants at each point where the sewage is presently discharged into the river, and the river will again regain its place in the hearts and minds of the people of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Ongoing Efforts

Currently, WEFTA is working with the provincial government as well as local community governments along the river in the development of simple, sustainable and healthy wastewater treatment and disposal systems at each community. In the southern city of Tacna, WEFTA is looking into developing a system to divert and treat wastewater from the city’s sewers to irrigate gardens maintained by a local school. WEFTA is also working with community leaders in the village of Coruca, about two hours from Tacna in an adjacent watershed, with implementation of a water treatment system for the removal of heavy metals such as arsenic, boron, and cadmium from the drinking water.

Trip Reports

Every time one we send a crew on a trip to either help or assess a community, we ask our volunteers to write a trip report that details the trip through their eyes. These documents will give you both a look into what it is like being a volunteer and a different perspective on our efforts to help communities. The photo-based reports redirect you to our Google+ photo albums. For projects more than five years old check out our Archives page.

2014 Q’ero Community Trip Report by Jason Obergfell and Braulio Rojas – PDF

2014 Winter Urubamba Valley Site Visits by Lou Harrington – PDF

2013 Urubamba Valley Trip Report – PDF

2013 Proposal for Wastewater Treatment for Municipality of Calca (Spanish) – PDF

2013 Proposal for Wastewater Treatment for Municipality of Calca (English) – PDF

Click here to see technical photo tour of the 2013 Urubamba trip.

Click here to take a tour of the beautiful Urubamba Valley as of 2013.

Click here to see a statistical summary (PDF) of our projects in all countries as of 2013.