We recent took a road trip of sorts, traveling up to the highlands of Cochabamba to drill a water well in a rocky valley and to do a little more research for our new water filter project. We were contacted by a fellow missionary, Craig Oliver of SIM, who is helping provide clean water to Quechua communities in the Vacas municipality of Cochabamba. He would like to drill wells manually in this area, but wanted us to come in first with our equipment to see if it was possible before he invested to much of his time and resources in the project. I was pessimistic after seeing a narrow valley surrounded by rocky ridges at over 12,000 feet in elevation. A number of families had already successfully made hand-dug wells up to about 10 meters deep and Craig was hopeful we could penetrate the ground with our manual drilling system. The first attempt was not successful. In four or five different locations we hit rocks within the first couple of feet that we could not drill through. On the second day we drilled into an existing 6 meter hand dug well and were able to drill to about 14 meters without hitting any more rock. This greater depth will allow the family to pump water throughout the dry season, providing clean water for both consumption and for the irrigation of a second potato crop each year. So it looks like if Craig and the families of Vacas can get passed the top layer of rocks they will be able to successfully drill wells down into the deeper water aquifers and will have access to good clean water year round.
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