Drilling a Water Well in Yotau with Brazos Pointe Fellowship

Water well drilling in Bolivia with Agua Yaku

In June Agua Yaku and a visiting team from Brazos Pointe Fellowship in Lake Jackson, Texas drove to the village of Yotau (near Asencion de Guarayos), five hours from Santa Cruz, to drill a water well for the community health post.  We were not able to successfully drill through the rock in the area, but we did distribute quite a few water filters and made some great contacts in other nearby communities where we will continue to work, providing clean water through wells and filter systems, and sharing Christ’s message of love and salvation.

Brazos Pointe Fellowship working with Agua Yaku in Yotau, Santa Cruz, BoliviaWater well drilling in Bolivia with Agua Yaku

The “New and Improved” Agua Yaku

Question:  What do you get when you motorized a manual water well drilling rig?

Answer:  You get a much easier way to drill water wells!20141125_2109

Check out Rudy with his feet up and with the master control in his hand.  I’m a bit ambivalent about our new “motorized” Village Drill.  I’ve always loved bringing communities together to drill water wells for people.  It is always a party, and creates such a feeling of unity and community, when you can get ten or twenty people together to help a family put in a water well.  That is how we have been drilling for years–first with the Baptist sludge/percussion method, and now with the Village Drill.  These manual (or partially manual) drilling methods work well, but they require a dozen or more people to help “pull on the rope,” “spin the carousel,” or “pound the drill stem.”  The problem is finding enough help when we don’t have a big volunteer team in Bolivia helping.  It is always difficult to find enough men to help drill when it is just Agua Yaku staff out drilling for a family.  So many men are absent from the communities, gone for months working wage labor jobs in the city or on large farms and ranches, leaving only women at home to tend to children, animals and farms.  Often a family will have to hire laborers to help us drill their wells, adding tremendously to the cost of putting in a well.

If we can reduce the amount of labor needed to drill a well, it will be easier logistically and less expensive or Agua Yaku and the local families to put in water wells.  Since we recently begin using a big diesel mud pump with the Village Drill, we decided to experiment a little, adding an electric generator (12.2 kWh for you technical types) so we could power electric motors to spin the carousel and raise and lower the drill stem.  Now we can drill comfortable with just three or four people!  Don’t worry, if a big team comes to help, we can still remove the belts and let them spin the carousel by hand all day long!

I will have a video up soon of the new drilling system in action.  I hope the inactivity doesn’t bore everyone. Thanks for your continued support.

Cheers, Danny

Drilling with the “Village Drill” in Warnes

Here are a few images from our recent trip to Warnes, Bolivia to continue testing our new “Village Drill”.  We are drilling a well for a new church plant and after school program in a community just outside the city of Warnes.

“Village Drill” Test Well a Success

20140414_0004After a few false starts and modifications in the machine shop, Agua Yaku has successfully drilled our first well with our new “village drill.”  Thank you to wholives.org for the plans and to First Baptist Church of Benbrook for the generous donation to get this new drilling rig off the ground.  This is the first drilling rig of this type in South America!  It is a manual rotary rig with a motorized mud pump to help circulate the drilling fluid.  It is a much simpler design than our previous method and should greatly speed up and simplify our drilling program.  We drilled a test well at the Stansberry Children’s home here in Santa Cruz.  We were able to drill a 20 meter well in just a couple of hours!  This well will be used for irrigation in the home’s garden and to water their livestock.

The entire rig fits nicely in a trailer we pull behind our project truck.  We are anxious to get it out in to the communities where it will be such a benefit to the families who so desperately need clean water here in Bolivia.  Let us know soon if you would like to bring a volunteer team down to help us drill wells this year.  Our calendar is filling up!

Bolivian Flood Waters Receding — Now Comes the Clean Up

Online fundraising for Water Filters for Flood Victims in Bolivia


tractor-gThe rains seem to be diminishing and the flood waters are finally beginning to recede.  Now comes the time for clean-up.  As you can see in the photo, mud is everywhere.  There is more than a meter of sediment in some houses.  Health officials are seeing a rise in water-borne diseases as many families are returning to their homes but they still do not have any clean water to drink.  Now would be a perfect time for each family to have their own Sawyer water filter.  We still have three days left in our Razoo campaign to raise donations for 1000 Sawyer filters for the flood victims of eastern Bolivia.  We have raised over $55,000 so far, enough to provide almost 700 filters.  Thank you everyone who has contributed so far to campaign.  Please help us meet our goal in our final push on Razoo, but even after the Razoo campaign ends, you can still donate through the regular channels on the EFCCM and the EFCA web sites.




World Water Day 2014

Today is World Water Day and I totally missed it.  Check out this great post by, Jessica Janoski, a friend and supporter of Agua Yaku here in Bolivia.  She makes some great points using shocking statistics about water use and water needs around the world.


Help us celebrate and support World Water Day by donating $80 to Agua Yaku so a family can have clean water tomorrow!


MAR 22, 2014

What You Have That 768 Million People Worldwide Don’t

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Its midday and safe to say that between your morning rituals of showering and coffee guzzling and the food preparation going into lunch, you’ve already consumed more than what 768 million people will struggle to access throughout the entire day – clean water.

By nightfall, as an average American you will have consumed more than 450 liters, or 118 gallons of water, in the home alone.

Today is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative designed to both remind the world each year about our inadequate global water supply and to celebrate the achievements made in water security and sanitation.

And while there is much to be celebrated as statistics represent decreases in water-related deaths, the numbers concerning the crisis are still staggering. In comparison to U.S. daily consumption of 118 gallons of water (as mentioned above), those in developing countries can barely find five.

On top of it, those five gallons are barely drinkable, swimming with bacteria and diseases that cause staggering death rates just from trying to stay hydrated and clean. (add fact here). 1 child dies every 21 seconds from a water-related disease.

Here’s what you need to know:


–  768 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s 1 in 9 of us.

–   The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns. (World Health Organization, WHO)

–   In developing countries, about 80 per cent of illnesses can be linked to poor water conditions that led to a lack of proper sanitation. (United Nations)

–  Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five, more than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. Diarrhea is most commonly caused by improper hygiene. (water.org)

–  More people have a mobile phone than access to a toilet.


–   12% lack access to water, 54% lack access to sanitation and safe, drinkable water, 50.6% live below poverty line.

–    In Bolivia nearly one out of every ten children will die before the age of five. Most of those deaths are related to illnesses that come from a lack of clean drinking water. (Jim Schultz, founder of the Democracy Center in Bolivia, FLOW.)

–   Almost five million Bolivians lack access to sewage systems and fecal waste disposal. (Refresh Bolivia)

–   Diarrhea causes 36% of deaths in children under 5 in Bolivia. Studies show that provision of potable water and sanitation facilities can reduce deaths from diarrhea by 65% and overall childhood mortality by 55%.


Agua Yaku

This organization empowers communities to maintain their own clean water sources by providing impoverished rural families access to water filters and the training needed to allow Bolivians to tap into any water source and drink clean, purified water for years. These filters are needed more than ever as 60,000 Bolivians suffering recent floods have lost their homes, crops, livestock, and livelihoods.

Photo courtsey Agua Yaku

Photo courtesy Agua Yaku

Donate a filter or contribute to fundraising efforts here.

Water for People

This Colorado based, international nonprofit has operations in 10 countries, including Bolivia, and improves access to water with drilling projects, sanitation infrastructures and other water systems. Much of their work is completed through volunteer work in the field as part of their World Water Corps program and other various project sponsorships.

Find out how you can get involved or donate to the cause here.

People Water (Drop4Drop)Charity:Water, and Water.org also target the global water crisis by providing eco-friendly, non-leaking water bottles, well drilling, long-lasting sanitation services, family sponsorships and more. Check out their work and see how you can support those in need.

And it doesn’t end with donations! Be mindful of the water you consume letting minimal amounts of this precious resource go to waste. Educate yourself and others by spreading the word of this epidemic and know the facts. Seek out videos and documentaries (such as Flow and Water Wars), and seek out the voices of the affected.

Cheers to water and its healing power!



Bolivia Flooding 2014 – Expanding Agua Yaku’s Response

Online fundraising for Water Filters for Flood Victims in Bolivia

Last week Paulo and I (Danny) returned to Beni with 80 more Sawyer filters.  After driving to Trinidad, we flew in a small plane to San Borja, a town of 42,000 that has been cut off from the rest of Bolivia by the flooding.  The Maniqui River, overflowed its banks and threatened to flood the town.  It receded more quickly than the Mamore River near Trinidad, but still left hundreds of Tsimane communities devastated.  We heard stories of how quickly the river rose and came into the communities.  People told me they only had time to grab their children and seek refuge in the rafters of their wooden homes.  Unlike the homes on the Mamore River, the20140314_0054 Tsimane houses are made from poles, with bamboo walls and grass roofs.  They are not raised up on stilts.  All of their clothes, cooking utensils, and possessions were washed away.  All of their crops were destroyed.  When we visited two communities last week we met so many families who had nothing but the clothes on their backs.  So even though the water has receded in Trinidad, the families are starting over from scratch.  All of their hand-dug wells have been fouled by the flood waters and the only water they have to drink is gathered from muddy brown Maniqui River. 


It is hard to know how even begin to help these families.  We went along on our visit to Puerto Codo and Natividad with Juan and Wendy, a local pastor and his wife, and Candido, the president of the Gran Consejo of the Tsimane communities.  Candido is the voice for 130 Tsimane communities located on the remote rivers of Beni, Cochabamba, and La Paz, almost all of which have been affected by the flooding.  Juan, Wendy, and Candido all have a real desire to meet the extreme needs of these many communities.   We brought food, clothes, and water filters to these two communities.  Really, just a drop in the bucket, considering the great need that we see all around us.  It is always exciting to see how excited the people get when they see muddy water transformed into clean drinking water with the Sawyer filter.  In the photo gallery below you can see the joy on the faces of these people as they drink the clear filtered water.


20140313_0391We have decided to provide one filter for each school and church in San Borja, about 20 in total, that will serve the urban population, and we will provide one filter for each of the 130 Tsimane communities.  I wish we could give a filter to each family, but that just beyond our capabilities right now.  Juan and Wendy will be training teachers and community leaders in how to use the filters and they will be taking them back to their remote communities, some of them more than one week away by river travel.  In the coming months we hope to be able to provide filters for individual families as well.


As you can see from the aerial photos, the flooding in and around the city of Trinidad continues.  Many communities have been under water for two months now.  So many people are praying for the beginning of the dry season so the rivers will have a chance to drain, but as of now it continues to rain.  So many other communities and town in Eastern Bolivia and Brazil are also flooding.  I read yesterday that 22,000 families in Brazil have been affected by the flooding.


Thank you so much for you continued support of our efforts to be Christ’s “hands and feet” during this crisis.  Please continue to pray and give.