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Peru 4B group, summer 2019

Water Purification

We could run an entire course around the theme of water in Peru. From studying the mighty Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers and their role in gold mining/crop irrigation/transport. To the colonial, extractive history of the Amazonian Rubber Boom in the late 1800s. Or how overpopulation and unequal water distribution in major cities such as Lima have led to an ever-growing disparity between the rich and the working class. Or so many other examples, many of which we’ll touch upon this summer.

In most parts of the US and some other countries, we have the profound privilege of having regular access to clean, safe drinking water. Unfortunately, in all parts of our program in Peru, we will need to take proactive measures to purify our water before we can drink it. We’re not going to buy bottled water because it isn’t good for the environment and most parts of Peru lack the expensive infrastructure needed to recycle (plus, recycling isn’t a viable end game in any part of the world, even in the US). Water from taps and most streams is safe to drink once it’s been properly purified. We’ll teach you how to identify safe water sources during our orientation outside of Urubamba.

Everyone will need to bring a water purification system AND a backup. There are many options to choose from when it comes to water purification. Get ready to hop back in the car to head back to your local camping gear store!

  1. Steripens:
    Pros: Quick purification (~90 seconds per liter), no chemicals
    Cons: expensive, tend to break easily
    *Get the USB rechargeable variety. They are less likely to break than battery-powered ones. Plus, they’re better for the environment because you’re not using up a bunch of batteries.
  2. Aquamira:
    Pros: Cheap
    Cons: Takes about 30 minutes to purify a liter of water
  3. Filters:
    Pros: Gets rid of sediments in the water
    Cons: Can be cumbersome, difficult to use and take up a lot of space

*We don’t recommend “Lifestraws”. They work, but students have expressed frustration with how difficult they are to use. If you have one and like using it, by all means, go ahead and use it. Iodine is also not recommended. It works but tastes super gross. We recommend a Steripen, with Aquamira as a backup.

Also, bring 2 wide mouthed one-litre bottles (i.e. Nalgenes)

Let us know if you have any questions!

Lxs Instructores