Permaculture & Rainwater Harvesting in Juluchuca

The Backstory. 

The rainy season where we live is changing dramatically. Ten years ago, and for generations prior, farmers, or campesinos, planted their corn seed every May 15th. It rained on the 16th and the planting season began. Beans and squash grew alongside rain-fed corn, the soil was turned over, and then tomatoes, cucumbers and melons poured out of the earth. Families thrived off fresh food, shared the surplus with their neighbors and sold large quantities for other nutrient dense foods to support their household. 

Today, our team at Playa Viva design regenerative systems and work tirelessly to bring this abundance back to the community -- and it begins with water! We live and work in a rural agrarian community of about 600 people in southwest Guerrero, Mexico. Most families make USD $10 per day for a household of three to eight people. Farmers read the seasons and the elements relentlessly, to determine when they can plant their crops to support their family. Others spend ten plus hours a week during the dry season filling buckets and large plastic tubs at the rivers edge to bring to their home for basic needs like washing dishes, clothes, and little children. 

Our dry season these days is relentless. When the little rain we get stops in September, families begin the time consuming work of transporting water to their home. The months become drier and drier until the following June, and the average household spends ten hours every week, or forty-five hours per month, for six to nine months, moving water to meet their basic household needs.

We want to change this experience for our community members! 

The Project!

We brought in a water expert, collaborated with leaders and homeowners in our community, and identified the ten families in the most need of water.  We will use both newly purchased and up-cycled materials to build rain gutters, construct first flush filters and lay underground tubing. We will build a 15,000 liter ferrocement cistern at each home, with the help of homeowners and neighbors. The outside of the tank will be painted with a light-orange local clay and we'll have an artist paint an educational piece for everyone to see. Family members will record their experience with the new systems and meet with our Permaculture team four times a year to debrief, checkin, collaborate and keep learning from and improving on the individual designs. 

The new rainwater harvesting designs and cisterns help our community turn a problem into a solution. Today, when it rains, the water hits and erodes our hillsides faster than our soil and landscape can absorb it. Installing rainwater catchment designs is an innovative, regenerative way of capturing, storing and using our natural resources and improving livelihoods in our community. We hope you can come see it one day! 

The Costs. 

Our Permaculture work in the community has two main components this season.. 
1. Rainwater Harvesting in the community - $10,000

Each rainwater harvesting system will cost $1,000 in material and installation costs. We hope to install our rainwater catchment designs in ten homes. Our success means ten local families will capture and store hundreds of thousands of liters of rainwater to be used for bathing, for washing dishes and clothes, for tending to their animals, and even purifying and drinking clean water. 

2. Permaculture Liaison - $6,000

Our Permaculture Specialist and our Social and Community Impact Manager collaborate on our biggest regenerative and permaculture projects inside our community. They would like to train, house, and feed a longterm Permaculture in the Community Liaison to take the lead on our most hands-on projects this year. We value our team's time and expertise and will compensate the newest member with a monthly stipend during a one year contract.  (Reach out if you might be the person to fill this role!)

How You Can Help.

It is important that we begin the construction of our rainwater catchment designs in April, before the rainy season begins. We want to move slowly during construction, learning from the process in our unique climate and giving community members the opportunity to participate in the construction and conversation. 


Your contribution has a huge impact in our watershed and community. Thank you!
We hope you have the opportunity to visit Playa Viva in the near future and get to know the people who live here. Come see one of the systems we build with your kindness and generous contribution!
Thank you,
Playa Viva,
our Permaculture Team, 
and our local community. 

Fundraising team (3)

Amanda Harris
Raised $241 from 4 donations
San Mateo, CA
Ilhui Hernandez
Team member
Ilhui Hernández
Team member

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