For the past decade, Suma Jayma water technicians have provided water supply systems for household taps. In the Andean High Plains, or altiplano, communities at elevations between 12,500 and 15,000 feet above sea level were either provided hand pumps to pull water from hand-dug wells, or gravity-fed water systems bringing spring water from surrounding mountains to communities that were never previously served by a safe and reliable water system. With increased availability of power to remote villages, a new effort has begun to tap the immense mountain aquifer and supply water to more communities farther away from potential water sources.
WEFTA has worked for the past decade to help Bolivian communities with technical needs related to sanitation and water supply, as well as with efforts to attain financial sustainability of the systems. WEFTA’s great strength is the ability to attract volunteer technical experts to this effort. In some cases, teams travel to Bolivia to provide ongoing training and oversight, and in other cases WEFTA has brought locals to the U.S. for capacity development.
In 2012, Muenster, Texas became the temporary home for three members of the Suma Jayma team who traveled from Bolivia, where they received well drilling training on the very rig that WEFTA helped procure for them before it was shipped down. The Suma Jayma team also honed their skills in welding, drafting, and hydraulic calculations, as well as leading community organization meetings. The effort culminated in the Suma Jayma team returning to Bolivian altiplano with the well drilling rig and the expertise to drill wells for rural communities.
In 2015, two members of the Suma Jayma team returned to the United States for more hands-on, intensive training on well drilling techniques in Corrales, New Mexico, in conditions similar to what they encounter in the altiplano. They shadowed a team from Rodgers and Co., a NM based drilling company and learned invaluable lessons on drilling through gravelly material that resembles that encountered by the Suma Jayma team in several locations.
The team returned to Bolivia with new-found skills as well as many donated well drilling accessories including several very expensive drill bits and other materials, and well pumps. Equipment and supply donations were made by Clarence Rodgers, Jeff Watson and John Torres of Rodgers and Co., and by Bill Whaley of HGS drilling. Drill bits were donated by Mills Bit Service and Muenster Drilling Company, and a new high pressure Kelly hose donated by Bell Supply. A WEFTA sponsor donated the cost of shipping this equipment back to Bolivia.
In addition to the many communities Suma Jayma has worked with over the years, over a dozen communities have been provided deep wells in the past year by Suma Jayma with their new drill rig. Their reputation of reliable drilling combined with their sustainable social model, has taken root. The foundation has been set to provide water services for many years to come; partnered with WEFTA volunteers to achieve a lasting commitment, with lasting results.
To read more about our ongoing involvement in Bolivia check out our page: Bolivia.