In the Peruvian highlands, climate change has created new challenges for farming families: Changing weather patterns lead to short, heavy rains that wash away topsoil and seeds, followed by long months without rainfall. To make matters worse, farmers face a lack of resources and know-how, so their struggle to make a living leads to deforestation and overgrazing of land, further exacerbating the situation.

In Abancay, Peru, communities have a functioning water system with household connections, however, the shorter rainy seasons cause water sources to dry up and the population is without drinking water for many months of the year. In this project, the proven REPANAS method is used to establish a nature reserve around water sources and protect them from contamination by humans and animals. The resulting supported and strengthened regeneration of vegetation and ground cover, especially through tree planting activities, improves the capacity to absorb rainwater, which increases the groundwater level.

Project location

The project is being implemented in nine communities in Abancay in southern Peru near Cusco. The communities are located at over 3000 metres above sea level and are only accessible by bumpy roads. The population is scattered, as is typical for the region, and the communities have limited access to nearby towns.

Project beneficiaries

The population is made up of indigenous Quechua families who earn their living mainly from subsistence farming and livestock rearing. The project will directly benefit 1850 people. However, the overall impact of the project will be greater as the people of the surrounding villages will also benefit from the increased water quality and quantity.

Project activities

  • Building a shared community understanding and commitment to conservation measures for land and nature
  • Creation of five REPANAS nature reserves with a total area of 700 hectares to protect water sources from pollution and promote natural regeneration
  • Establishment of three tree nurseries where indigenous plants are cultivated to support reforestation and accelerate the restoration of soil and plant cover
  • Construction of drainage ditches and “ccochas” (man-made water reservoirs in the Andes) that fill with rainwater that can percolate into the soil to replenish groundwater stores
  • Training farmers in improved environmental techniques in agriculture and efficient water use
  • Establishment of a water management committee to promote responsible use of water and to ensure ongoing maintenance


Project objective

The REPANAS-based protected areas will increase water quantity and quality. This in turn will have a positive impact on the social and environmental situation. In addition, growing awareness and improved practices will promote continued nature recovery and respect for the environment.

Partner organisation

Caritas Abancay has been working in sustainable development cooperation for 60 years with projects focusing on environmental protection, food security, health and agriculture. Their work is based on a participatory model that takes local culture into account.

November 2021 until December 2024

EUR 261,196

– Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ/Bengo)
– Oswald Stiftung

Monica Denomy

Hochland in Peru
In the peruvian highlands, there are few trees left and the soil no longer absorbs water, resulting in ongoing water shortages
Quechua-Familien in Peru
Indigenous Quechua families in nine communities in southern Peru will benefit from the measures
Projektregion für Repanas-Projekt
The project region is located at 3000 meters above sea level

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