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In Perales, a major community crisis has been the lack of water for a large portion of the community residents. Recupera Chile has worked with the local mayor and community residents to create improved access to water for the residents of Alto and Bajo Perales.

The Recupera Chile project reached a milestone in April 2015 with the implementation of a rural drinkable water system, giving access to potable water to 75 families living in the highlands of Perales, a community affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.


January 2014

Students from the Harvard Kennedy School of Harvard University traveled to Perales for 15 days on January 2014 lead by the Professor Doug Ahlers as part of the course “Post-disaster Recovery”.


As on previous visits, students had to identify initiatives of local development and social and economic entrepreneurship to lift up the area depressed and affected by the earthquake and tsunami.


Unlike previous years, students identified the water provision project as a “unique” initiative. The group decided that the project of drinkable water was to benefit the community in a harmonious and balanced manner.



Dr. Iván Cartes, Arquitect and Territorial Coordinator of Recupera Chile developed the project with Ramón Nazar, Hydraulic Engineer and its design was finalized over the course of 2014. This was broached with a projected expansion of 25 years and with a prospective growth of the population so as to ensure a future growth.


Its development consisted of providing water from the lower pond in Bajo Perales (that already exists) to the upper pond so as to supply with this vital liquid to those who where practically with no water during the months of higher demand. Therefore, its construction contemplated the excavation and canalization of 750 meters of water matrix of 2”, including the laying of PVC plastic pipes, the installation of electric pumps, water meters and electricity to operate the entire system, as well as a cutting system at the top.


There was a necessity of repairing plumbing and household connections during the process of laying networks. Coelemu Municipality became part of the project doing the channeling with a backhoe during three days. The labor force was hired locally and the operational water systems as well as the electric ones were executed by local agents absorbing severance and local capacity like a complementary element of the project.

To advance the water provision initiative, the Perales community, in collaboration with Iván Cartes, Professor of Architecture at Universidad del Bío-Bío and Laura Aravena, Mayor of Coelemu, organized a drinkable water committee to develop policies, such as implementing a monthly fee, to ensure the long-term sustainability of their water supply.


In addition to addressing critical community needs, this initiative helped empower and develop a sense of community in Perales, which is one of the fundamental strategies for post-disaster recovery.

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