La Catocha and El Poshte – Clean Water

Silvina Ramos

The Community

La Catocha and El Poshte lie within the Tacó River watershed, located in the municipality and department of Chiquimula, Guatemala. The communities are in a very rough mountainous area, accessed by one unimproved road. There are 117 families (552 residents) in the two communities.

The Needs

Poverty is pervasive, and poor agricultural practices lead to frequent food shortages during the six-month rainy season and poor access to water in the dry season. A community needs assessment was carried out using World Bank methodologies. This assessment showed that there are many needs in these communities, including clean water, improved quantity and quality of food, better health care and education. However, without easy access to clean water throughout the year, the rest of the needs cannot be improved in a sustainable way.

The Project

Several springs were located at an elevation that allowed a gravity system to be built, no pumps required. A spring collection system was constructed including one main collection box, plus three smaller spring collection boxes. A water distribution tank, which holds about six thousand gallons, was built and chlorine is added at this point in the system. Lastly, a distribution system needed to be built to move water from the tank to the 2 communities and to individual houses. The community donated the labor to build the distribution system, minimizing costs.