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Project report

Capture Fog Nets for drinking water, Tiactac village Guatemala , RUN BY: Round Square | STATUS: COMPLETED

Although the fog net trials proved unsuccesful, the project built a new community water tank and piping. This now means most houses in Tiactac are supplied with clear, clean running water.

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 21,171

Raised from 8,106 people

Project Overview:

The aim of this project was to supply the village of Tiactac with fresh potable water. Although originally detailed as using fog-nets to create the water supply, in a village trial this method did not work. FogQuest, the local partner, then worked with them to source spring water from a site 4 km from the village. The water was piped to a holding tank and then to the 70 individual households – each receiving a separate standpipe.

The task of the RoundSquare Schools group was to help with the construction of the water tank, dig trenches (approx 50 cm deep) from the tank to all the households of the village – a huge task as some of the homes were 3-4 km distant from the tank!

Before this project, the water supply to the village was from roof collectors into large domestic polythene tanks. This water often became stale and infected with bacteria and insect larvae during the time it remained in the tanks and whilst it is suitable for washing it needs boiling before drinking. The spring provides a year round supply of fresh clean water (whilst we were there a team of water quality specialists from the University of West Virginia, Charlottesville, tested the spring water and found no pathogenic bacteria – i.e. it is safe to drink without further treatment). Furthermore the dry season extends from March to May and during these 3 months there is rarely any precipitation, thus this new system of pipes and holding tank should ensure a year round supply of water.

Project Challenges:

  • The terrain was varied but it was generally steep, sometimes rocky with fallen trees and ever-present tree roots to overcome. The tools used were picks, hoes and shovels. Most students found this work arduous.
  • Language posed a small barrier - A relatively small number of the villagers spoke a good standard of Spanish (most speak Chuj) and it was difficult to plan the next day’s schedules well.
  • Weather – despite August being the "driest of the rainy season" this proved not to be the case with considerable amounts of rain falling during our stay. We lost two complete work days to incessant rain.

Project Outcomes:

The project was successfully completed 3 days ahead of schedule and most houses in Tiactac are now supplied with clear, clean running water – a tremendous boon for the inhabitants.

Student Report

“In the village of Tiactac amongst the lolling hills of Guatemala’s highland pine forest, 80 families who have always managed to thrive on collected rainwater and supplemented by distant springs are now adjusting to the rhythm of life with running water!

True respect for other traditions is imperative to real success in a project such as this. It is commonly known in Mayan religion that life giving water spring is feminine. The village has a masculine energy. It was imperative - to ensure that the spring did not dry up in protest - to properly marry the complementary masculine and feminine. The Yinhatil Nab’en students carried their double marimba (the first songs of marimba were given to the Mayans by the spirit of the water) up the mountain on their backs and played all morning long while the unmarried girls of the village danced upon the tank. Prayers of gratitude were offered to God and an anciana gave voice to the spring through a spirit-inspired song. The girls then led the water and the people five kilometers down the mountain and into the village below, where celebration continued.

Forever changed, the lives of the women and people of Tiactac no longer include strict rationing the rainwater to feed their families and keep them clean. Truly, this was the result of multiple people saying “yes” to the possibilities and putting in the time and energy to making it work”
By Ellen Rim, Round Square student, The Hotchkiss School

(Report Posted: 6 Feb, 2008)

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
***World Nomads UK
Travel Insurance Direct AU
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
Round Square

Round Square is a world-wide association of more than 60 schools on five continents. Our aim is to enable students to become compassionate leaders and guardians of tomorrow's world through understanding, democracy, environmental awareness, adventure, leadership and international service projects.

Footprints partners with Round Square to support the international service projects that provide direct poverty alleviation benefits to local communities.