Los Palos Amargos

Case study

Community Description

Los Palos Amargos is a small village in the Dominican Republic located 8 kilometers north east from Las Matas de Farfan, the nearest major town and 23 kilometers from the Haitian border. Los Palos Amargos is located between two mountain ranges, La Sierra de Neiba to the south and the Cordillera Central to the north. The village has some 55 homes and a population of approximately 350 inhabitants and with the principal economic activity based on large scale farming that includes the cultivation of beans, corn, rice, coffee including fruits and vegetables. Smaller plots family plots sustain the basic needs of families.

Existing conditions and problems facing the community

The need to provide a clean, reliable and accessible water supply is the goal of this project for Los Palos Amargos. The community depends on a single hand pump for drinking water, a community that is spread along one main road and a branch road that extend over several kilometers. Access to this one source poses a problem of accessibility and reliability by the village. Residents must travel long distances to gather the water at the hand pump and deliver the water to their home. It is a major task that involves all members of the family.The present source of water for the village is provided by public hand pumps, which draw water from drilled wells. One hand pump at location A7, along the road, which serves as the spine along which most of the community lives. This single public hand pump is used for drawing drinking water and is where most of the community members gather, while water from the second hand pump at location A18 is used for watering animals, due to presence of contaminants it is not suitable for drinking purposes. Mr. Gilberto Jimenez and his wife Ernestina are prominent members of the community and leaders of the formed water committee for Los Palos Amargos. We toured the area with Mr. Jimenez and located 55 homes that will be served by the proposed water design and noted the extent of several kilometers, large distances that residents must overcome to gather water.

There are several nearby streams in the area that also serve as a water supply, mostly for irrigation and are contaminated from chemical fertilizers and human refuse. It is the responsibility of all the family, men women Los Palos Amargos Proposal and young adults to gather water from the public taps. For the proposed design we recommend to have private taps as a direct contribution of the labor effort of each family to the project.

The present distribution of homes, grouped along the road, and spread over a distance of several kilometers dictates private taps since the homes are dispersed over considerable distance. Private taps were proposed at community meetings and were readily accepted as being the best option and residents look forward to receive a direct supply to their homes to better their present condition.


We are proposing to provide water to Los Palos Amargos by pumping from an existing drilled well to a proposed stone tank at the high point. A distribution system will be provided by PVC pipes from the tank with branch lines feeding each family of the community. An electric submersible pump will draw water from the existing well which is approximately 230 feet in depth and pump the water to a new stone tank at an elevation of 17 meters above the pump location and at a distance of 457 meters. Clean water will regularly supply the community from the tank by gravity. The designated community plumber will be responsible for maintaining the system and operating a gate valve in the lines whenever it is required for maintenance or repairs. This operation will be a coordinated effort by the community and the water committee, which is now in place and functioning. It is proposed that we train the water committee in the operation and maintenance during the construction period, assuring a sustainable system that can serve the community. The system will provide water to 65 homes, each home will be provided with one private tap.

BAt the far end of the line the water pressure will not be sufficient to maintain by gravity from the new tank. We propose to instead, provide a public tap, for the use of the 4 to 5 families. A relatively short walk of 450 to 550 meters is preferable to the several kilometers that one would need to travel to access water under the present system.

CThe community is presently provided with latrines that serve each of the families in the community. It is proposed that health promoters, who cover health and hygiene, provide educational instruction on sanitation and hand washing to the community.

Join us in our mission to bring safe water and the dignity of a toilet to people in need, giving women hope, children health and communities a future.

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