The project will help families in the remote Calchaqui Valley to capture runoff water from the mountains and create an effective water system to improve their health and food security. The construction to capture runoff for irrigation will enable the families to plant food crops to complement the hay they now grow for their goats from which they produce weavings and cheese. They will invest their new income to improve their agriculture and tomarket handmade local products to tourists.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Families in the cold Andes of La Poma county in northwestern Argentina live without sufficient water. Tourists visit the Calchaqui area to see Inca graneries, Devils Bridge and the Twin Volcanos but local people benefit little from tourism. The challenge is to catch runoff water to improve their incomes, health and water supply. Families have experimented catching the runoff from rain and small springs but their rustic efforts do not hold the water long, and only enough water to grow hay.

How will this project solve this problem?

In the Andes, people live in extreme climatic conditions to make a living in a beautiful environment. Agriculture in small plots is limited by cold and unpredictable, scarce rain. Poverty levels are high. While it is possible to seek welfare from the government, the people here are proud and want to make their own living. The construction to capture runoff will enable poor families to plant food crops in addition to the hay grown for their goats, improving their diets and incomes.

Potential Long Term Impact

If these poor families (50 people) can capture and use runoff water to produce food, they will have healthier diets and sustainable income to invest in making marketable weavings and cheese for the next ten years. Their new income will help them to improve their agriculture, and market handmade local products to tourists. If these families demonstrate how it is possible to capture water and improve their livelihoods, then their neighbors who see the results, will seek to do this too.

Funding Information

This project has been retired and is no longer accepting donations.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


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Fundacion Urundei

Salta Capital, Salta, Argentina

Project Leader

Alonzo Zarzycki

Salta, Argentina

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