Paraxaj, Guatemala

“Our parents had dreams of a project like this”


EWB-USA UMN is designing a water distribution project in the community of Paraxaj, near the town of Comalapa, in the state of Chimaltenango. Paraxaj is a village of about 1200 people. A water distribution project was necessary for Paraxaj because ofthe inability to source water from their current, hand-dug wells during the region’s dry season. The project will be completed in two phases, with one phase to install the infrastructure and six public-access tap stands and a second phase to install 160 private tap stands.

Translation provided with Closed Captioning

Our Work

In May 2017, 5 EWB-USA UMN students and a professional mentor travelled to Paraxaj, Guatemala to conduct assessment work. They took survey data throughout the community, measured the depth and water quality of various wells throughout the community, and conducted a census of the community.   The year following the Assessment Trip, the survey data was used to create a TIN of the landscape on EPAnet. The well depth and performance measurements, as well as local geological information, helped choose an optimal location for a mechanically-drilled well in the community. Project members designed a gravity-fed water distribution system to deliver water from the well to people’s homes. This design featured a 6,000 liter holding tank, a 2,000 foot supply line to connect the well to the tank, 5,000 feet of pipe distributing water throughout the community, and six public access points throughout the community.   In August 2018, a group of 10 students and 4 rotating professional mentors to Paraxaj to implement the water distribution system. While in community, team members supplemented the assessment data with more detailed information of the layout of pipelines through the densely populated areas surrounding people’s homes. This data will facilitate the design process in the coming school year and allow the Paraxaj project to be completed in the summer of 2019.

NGO Collaboration

For this project, we will continue to work with our local NGO representatives, Long Way Home. Long Way Home has supported us during many projects in the past and present through assistance with translation, cultural knowledge, and communication with our partner communities. Their expertise is invaluable and we hope to maintain a productive relationship into the future.

Where We Are

For more information, contact:

Jacob Hermann at or Dani Alfonzo at

Guatemala Project Meetings are held every Thursday in Bruininks Hall 512B from 7-8 pm.