Water For People

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Peru consists of western arid coastal plains and deserts, the central sierra highlands, the Andes Mountains, and eastern lowlands with tropical rainforests that are part of the Amazon Basin. The country has a rapidly growing economy, largely fueled by exports from mining, agriculture, textiles, and manufacturing. However, approximately 30% of Peruvians live in poverty and 8% live in extreme poverty.

According to the Joint Monitoring Program, only 85% of people have access to improved water sources and 72% have access to adequate sanitation.

Water For People began its program in Peru in late 2008, selecting three rural municipalities: Cascas, La Libertad, and Tumbaden; Cajamarca, in northern Peru; and Majes, Arequipa, in southern Peru. Water For People–Peru later expanded its programming to include sustainable sanitation work in peri-urban Arequipa.


Rural access to improved water:
Rural access to improved sanitation:
Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Per capita income:
Life expectancy (M/F):
Under-five mortality rate:
TK/1,000 live births

Source: World Health Organization


Water For People–Peru is currently working in two districts: Cascas and Asuncion, a new district in Cajamarca. Peru is unique in that it houses both the Water For People–Peru office in Trujillo, located in northern Peru, and the South American Regional Office in Arequipa, in southern Peru.

Cascas is the capital of the province of Gran Chimú in the region of La Libertad. The central town of Cascas is 68 miles from the provincial capital of Trujillo. The district has 47 villages with a total population of 14,191, of whom 68% live in rural areas. The economy is based on agriculture, including wine grapes, rice, alfalfa, tomatoes, and fruit. Asuncion is one of 13 districts in the province of Asuncion, in the mountainous region of Cajamarca. This district has been newly selected by Water For People–Peru and a baseline assessment of the water and sanitation conditions is scheduled for late 2013.

In addition to work facilitated by Water For People–Peru in Cascas and Asuncion, the South American Regional Office oversees sustainable sanitation work in Majes and peri-urban Arequipa in southern Peru. This sanitation work focuses on investigating market-based sanitation programming.


Lasting water and sanitation solutions can only be achieved when key players—the private sector, civil society, and local government—are supported. Water For People–Peru participates in the National Water Network and collaborates with the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank (WSP), the National Water Authority, and the Vice Ministry of Housing and Sanitation. Water For People–Peru has agreements with the regional governments of La Libertad and Cajamarca, and in La Libertad has created a working group to coordinate on Water, Sanitation & School Hygiene (WASH) projects, and has achieved the incorporation of the themes of water and sanitation into the regional school curriculum. At the provincial, municipal, and community levels, key partners include the provincial governments of Gran Chimu and Asuncion, the municipal governments of Cascas and Asuncion, and community-level volunteer water committees.

Current Work

Water For People–Peru will continue work in Cascas and will initiate its first projects in Asuncion. In Cascas, Water For People–Peru will continue work with the municipal government to complete the water system for the community of Jolluco and facilitate hygiene education at four schools in the district. In Asuncion, there are plans to begin construction of the first water system in the community of Tayapampa Canchán and to connect the two schools in the community to this system. There will also be complete Akvo FLOW mapping of Asuncion in late 2013 and completion of a water resources inventory.

In the area of sustainable sanitation, Cascas has been selected as a pilot district for a project on which Water For People–Peru is collaborating with the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank (WSP).

View Current Progress


Water For People–Peru believes strongly that we must ensure water resources will be sustainable over time so that as we invest in building water systems, we also work to ensure that there will be adequate sources of water to supply them far into the future. In 2012, Water For People–Peru worked with volunteers from Xylem and government authorities to complete a water resources inventory in Cascas. In 2013, Water For People–Peru plans to add to this inventory a demand study of water use in Cascas, with the end goal of creating a comprehensive water resources management plan. Water For People–Peru is also working with the National Water Authority to create Basin Management Councils, legally prescribed structures made up of different water users that are tasked with managing watersheds and creating water resources management plans.

Water For People–Peru works to ensure water resources will be sustainable so that there will be adequate supply into the future.

Water For People–Peru and the South American Regional Office are also exploring market-based sanitation solutions. This includes options for households to finance the construction of a bathroom through credit by building relationships with banks, microfinance institutions, and cooperatives. Part of this work is also engaging existing sanitation goods and service providers to include “below the poverty line” customers in their portfolios.

Water For People–Peru builds capacity of municipalities through encouraging them to hire permanent staff dedicated solely to water and sanitation. It also works on building the capacity of local water committees, groups of community members elected by the community to manage the water system, and will encourage the formation of associations of water committees to provide additional long-term support to water committees.


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