Water Quality Monitoring – Miraflores, Peru

Water Quality Monitoring – Yanacancha (Miraflores), Peru

Water samples were collected from the Yanacancha sector in Miraflores (4,800 meters elevation), which is located within the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve of Peru. These samples were used to determine the role that ancient infrastructures have in local water quality–specifically dams and reservoirs that date back to the Inca era. These water management systems were built by the ancestors of local villagers. For that reason they are often referred to as “ancestral technologies” or “ancestral infrastructure.”

The water that flows down the Yanacancha slope supplies the Campesino Community of Miraflores and is also channeled for livestock. In Yanacancha there are five ancestral dams that form a kind of purification system for the natural mineral waters, lowering the acidity of the water as it flows downward through this ancient system.

Results showed that all five ancestral dams in Yanacancha have provided the expected water quality enhancement and have lowered the water acidity. The first dam served the function of sedimentation, allowing heavier particles to settling out of the water. In this section, water sampled had a pH of 3.70. Water samples from the fifth and last section of the ancestral system showed a pH of 6.69–a level allowed within the environmental quality standards of the Peruvian Ministry of Environment. (Normal pH range for groundwater systems is between 6 to 8.5.)

Our thanks to researchers from the San Marcos National University of Peru for carrying out this study in collaboration with our Andes Program staff and citizen scientists from Miraflores. (Link back to main Mountain EbA Peru page.)

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