Peru's water crisis
While Peruvian infrastructure continues to improve, unequal access to safe drinking water remains a prominent issue. Peru’s water crisis affects up to 5 million citizens—15% of the country’s population. The government recognizes that to properly tackle this pressing issue, the country’s water scarcity crisis must be addressed. This matter is particularly important in the country’s capital, Lima. Lima is one of the world’s largest desert cities, and only receives nine millimeters of rain a year. Nearly 1.5 million citizens of the Greater Lima area lack running water.

The government has developed a goal to offer public drinking services to all such marginalized urban hotspots in need of water by 2021. Significant strides have been made since 2016 under the Kuczynski and Vizcarra administrations. However, with 9% of foreign investment now allocated to water and sanitation, the government also sees that public-private partnerships are key to increasing water supply. The Nature Conservancy, an international sustainability NGO,  has played a major role in combating the water shortage in Peru through innovative projects.

Reviving the Amuna Systems

There are increasing challenges to Peru’s water crisis—and therefore Lima’s water supply—that range from urbanization to climate change. In 2019, The Nature Conservancy revived a pre-Incan method of hydric regulation called “amunas” to alleviate the city’s distressing situation. Amunas are water systems that capture rainfall for use as potable drinking water.

Alongside the Caterpillar Foundation, NGO members are building canals that funnel flood rains into mountains rather than leave it to undergo natural processes of evaporation. Water will then gradually surface in springs, which is imperative for water distribution during Lima’s dry seasons.

The amunas recovery project is centered in the upper Rimac River Watershed, arguably Lima’s most important water supply. The increased amount of water in the soil has already resulted in the recuperation of 25 hectares of natural grasslands. Farmers located throughout the greater Lima area have benefited greatly from this endeavor.

Government Partnership

The Nature Conservancy is working in conjunction with the Peruvian government to develop an efficient tariff structure for funding infrastructure projects. This new water utility effort in Lima is called “Aquafondo.” The Nature Conservancy projects that by 2025, $25 million will be directed toward critical hydrological services. These changes address key issues, including as the region’s adaptation to climate change. In addition to Aquafondo, The Nature Conservancy is organizing water funds in the Peruvian cities of Piura and Cusco, both of which are also located in desert-like areas.


Peru’s water crisis remains a security issue that could impact the economic and personal development of millions of citizens. Environmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy play a pivotal role in ensuring improved water access for marginalized populations. The Nature Conservancy’s international efforts, ranging from improved infrastructure throughout Latin America to restoring wetlands in India, symbolize a greater effort toward water justice among powerful non-state parties.

Breana Stanski
Photo: Flickr

Caterpillar FoundationThe “Together.Stronger.” initiative, started by the Caterpillar Foundation works to alleviate poverty across the globe. “The world’s nations have united around the UN’s Global Goals that will guide international development for the next 15 years, and now it’s time for citizens in all communities to unite as well,” the organization says.

The “Together.Stronger.” approach is not one of competition, but one of collaboration towards a similar goal.

“No one individual, no one corporation, no one organization can do it themselves,” says Michele Sullivan, President of the Caterpillar Foundation. “But together, we are stronger.”

“Caterpillar has learned from its business and years of philanthropic work that the bigger the project, the better the team needs to be,” she says. “Together.Stronger. is our effort to build the best team possible… because ending extreme poverty is something that will take all of us.”

To accomplish this, the platform is based on three areas of focus:

  1. Stockholders: Delivering superior returns through the cycles.
  2. People: Attracting and developing the best talent.
  3. Customers: Taking pride in helping others succeed.

Caterpillar works to bring the world together to fix a problem that affects us all. With this in mind, the foundation works to create global citizens: a people that aren’t just citizens of a town or a country, but of the globe at large.

“The world is better when everyone stands together. Because together, we truly are stronger.”


Katherine Martin

Sources: Caterpillar, Global Citizen, ONE, Scene7

Founded in 1952, Caterpillar Foundation dedicates itself to transforming lives within the international communities where Caterpillar works.  It has been the champion for programs that support education, environment and emergency relief.

The program has donated over 550 million dollars to organizations that put poverty onto the path of prosperity “by investing in those proven to yield the best results – women and girls.”  Last year the foundation committed itself to a three year 29.2 million dollar commitment. Partnering with Opportunity International the joint venture looks to service 16.7 million people across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Caterpillar Foundation’s commitments will be leveraged through Opportunity International via microfinance loans, savings and financial training.  Due to Caterpillar’s strong commitment to women and girls, most of the money will be financed to women, or groups of women, looking to form working relationships.

As of August 2014, Caterpillar Foundation announced the allocation of an additional 11 million dollars to help with Africa’s water and energy needs. Five million dollars have been distributed to help programs that address public policy needs and lack of access to energy. Five million dollars will be used to extend an already existing water line in Tanzania and Ethiopia. The last million will help teach women and girls about the dangers of traditional cookstoves and the benefits of adopting clean cooking solutions.

Most recently Caterpillar has committed itself to another generous contribution of 2.5 million dollars to The Poverty Project.  This nonprofit organization has received wide acclaim since the implementation of its new strategy unveiled in 2012. Global Citizen is an online platform that serves as the basis for all the work performed by the registered Global Citizens. There are more than 250,000 global citizens that have partaken in 1.75 million actions that have contributed to more than 35 campaign victories and announcements.

The Poverty Project has since released a new strategy as of January 1 of this year. The strategy focuses on ending extreme poverty by 2030.  With its announcement of a new vision, The Poverty Project has also put forth a new theory of change and an updated framework. These proposals are all designed to create a movement of unstoppable Global Citizens.

This dynamic and effective strategy is what caught the eye of the Caterpillar Foundation.  Since the three main goals of this foundation are education, environment and emergency relief, the money given to The Global Poverty Project has all been earmarked for specific projects.

The Global Poverty Project has determined that universal sanitation brought into impoverished areas will increase the chances for women to receive an education, get a job or run a small business.  This is where the bulk of the money will go.  It will also be used to put restrooms inside homes and provide them with running water. The remainder of the money will be used to help educate the 31 million girls who currently do not attend school around the world.

– Frederick Wood II

Sources: Peoria Public Radio, Caterpillar, Global Poverty, Peoria Public Radio 2
Photo: Urban Times