The Chicorral Community

Chicorral is a small, indigenous community in rural Guatemala. As with many other rural areas in the country, Chicorral suffers from a severe lack of infrastructure: over half of the approximately 200 residents must climb down a steep, 100-meter-deep ravine to reach the community’s main reliable water source. Women and children bear the responsibility of taking this trip up to five times a day to meet household water needs.

Additionally, the residents would like to be recognized as an independent village (aldea) rather than a semi-independent community (paraje). For this formal recognition, the community must construct a school, a mayor’s building, a community building, a graveyard, and a water system that serves at least 85% of residents. With the other projects complete or already in progress, our project will help Chicorral fulfill the last requirement and allow the community to move closer to being recognized as an Aldea.

Since 2006, the Guatemala team of EWB-USA JHU has been working with the residents of Chicorral to develop and construct a socially, technically, and financially sustainable community water system to address this dire issue of lack of access to water.


Our design will employ solar-powered water pumps that will take the spring water from the bottom of the ravine and distribute it to individual households.  The setup is designed so the pump tank will contain a sufficient water supply throughout the year for the pumps, taking into account the daily and seasonal fluctuations in source flow rate.  The aim of this design is to meet the community’s needs by drastically reducing the time and effort spent collecting water by providing a daily supply of 50 L per person.


Chicorral is a rural community located in the highlands of the Department of Totonicapán, Guatemala. The nearest town, San Bartolo, is located approximately 10 kilometers away along a bumpy mountainous road, while the nearest major city, Quetzaltenango, is located approximately 50 kilometers south along the Pan-American Highway.

Current Situation

There is currently a working solar-powered water distribution system installed in the community. Due to population growth, we have also decided to implement a second pump. We are now monitoring its effectiveness and rounding up the project.

Special Thanks

mohaved family
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