Earth day celebrated with Rainjar build

Caminos de Agua celebrated earth day (April 22) by building a new rainwater harvesting system never seen before in San Miguel de Allende. We organized the event at our field site near Atotonilco to showcase a low-cost option for rainwater harvesting while raising awareness about local water issues.

Over the weekend, with the dedicated work of Caminos staff and the frequent and welcome contributions from visitors, we constructed a “rainjar” – a 2,000 liter system designed by a group in Tucson, AZ.

Previous to the weekend, Aaron Krupp coordinated with local welder Eric Ramirez to create the forms necessary to build the system.

The rainjar construction began with the construction of a base from brick, mortar, and compressed earth (built pre-weekend by Aaron Krupp and Saul Juarez). On Saturday and Sunday, the group assembled the formwork on the base, painted everything (and everyone) with mud, and applied four layers of cement interspersed with chicken-wire reinforcement.

We were excited to host people from around Guanajuato who stopped by over the weekend to check out the cistern build, eat lunch under the shade of the mesquite tree, and watch Consuming the Future, a documentary about the over-exploitation of groundwater in the region.

We are optimistic about the potential applications this small rainjar could have in urban San Miguel, where we have been monitoring rising levels of arsenic in the municipal water system. We are also looking forward to potential collaborations with local reporters, builders, artists, and government bodies who visited with us over the weekend.

Caminos de Agua hopes to lend the forms to those interested in building a rainjar themselves. If this post inspires you, reach out to us about how we can work together!

Thank you to everyone who came out to make this event a success and a huge THANK YOU! to those who worked plastering cement until long after the sun went down, illuminated by a pair of squeaky car headlights. Caminos couldn't move forward without your dedication.

Jenn Ungemach