Peace Corps Rainwater Harvesting Project

By Ryan Browning

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Dominican Republic ’11-’13


Mission Accomplished

After 3 solid months of construction, the community of Agua de Luis is proud to announce the successful conclusion of our Rainwater Storage Tank Project!

Your generous donations, along with the collaborative efforts of Project Las Americasand The College of William & Mary, made this project a reality for 8 Dominican families.

Before this project, the families were forced to collect their rainwater in 55 gallon drums and/or purchase 5 gallon potable water jugs.  They now have the opportunity to store up to 10,000 liters of rainwater that can be used for human consumption as well as bathing, cleaning and agricultural purposes.

This truly could not have been possible without your assistance.  For that we say “Gracias“.

Project Summary

With 1.5 years of preparation under our belts and the support received from your contributions, the project went off with minimal setbacks.  Construction work for each individual tank began on a Monday and concluded that Friday.  5 days.  No more.  No less.

One week later, after the cement had sufficient time to cure, each tank was cleaned out of all debris and filled to the brim with clean drinking water.  Tanks were attached to a rainwater catchment system comprised of PVC pipes to ensure that all future rainfall will be collected.


Keeping in mind the continued demand for additional rainwater storage projects of this nature in Agua de Luis as well as in surrounding communities, a local mason (along with his group of skilled laborers) were extensively trained on all phases of construction.

When Peace Corps related work/responsibilities drew me away from the community, Ada Hernández (the project’s lead mason and now ferrocement expert) took charge and continued on schedule without my direct supervision.

Community members quickly took notice of the quality work being done.  Upon completing my service early September, Ada had been approached by 4 families that were monetarily able to purchase materials and construct their own rainwater storage tanks.  Not only will additional families be able to take advantage of this appropriate technology, but Ada will be able to utilize his new skill set as a means of finacially providing for his family.

Sustainability indeed.

And now for your viewing pleasure, a glimpse at the construction process:

Day 1

Rebar enforced floor with cleanout/overflow pipe

Assembling the wall

Ada laying down a mix of cement

Day 2

Wrapping a tarp around wall to provide rigidity & support

The muchachos (“boys”) mixing cement

Jeremia applying the first of 7 layers

Day 3

Masons plastering on outside cement coat

Sika.  Chemical used in cement mixes to prevent water leakage

Raul working on inside layers

Day 4

The final coat: a thin Sika/cement combo layer used to fill in small holes

Ada constructing wooden support structure for roof

Cleanout/overflow. Tank cannot be filled above this PVC tee

Day 5

Pouring the cone-shaped roof

Raul applying the final touches

¡Terminamos!  We finished!

Peace Corps Volunteer Ellen Abrams and myself supervise students from The College of William & Mary as well as Dominican masons Ada and Jeremia.

The finished product.  Storage tank attached to rainwater catchment system

The Families

My next door neighbors.  Paco & Rosa with their kids Yendri, Yamilex, Melkis, Rosemely and neighbor Jasiel (orange shirt).  My dog Nevada also made an appearance!

Gueso and her grandaughter Emely.  Ada and I posing with them for good measure.

Christino & Somaily with their two sons (never could remember their names!)

Celina and I.  Unfortunately her family was out of town that day (husband, daughter and 2 sons)

Too many family connections to explain in one caption.  Ada, Morena, Yudy, Emely and Ada’s three daughters (the youngest 3)

Ada, his wife Yulisa and their three daughters.

Ada and I in front of his very own tank, which was the 8th and final cistern we constructed together.  Couldn’t have accomplished anything without his help (and yes. we have flow.)

Unfortunately we were unable to photograph two of the families.

Once again THANK YOU for your much needed and much appreciated donations.  Many lives have been touched and the impacts from this project will be felt by generations to come.

Vaya con Dios

Agua de Luis Rain Water Harvesting

Peace Corps initiates rain water harvesting project in Agua de Luis, Monte Cristi Dominican Republic. Project Las Americas has provided the funding for the project.  A total of eight, ten thousand liter tanks will be constructed.  The Monte Cristi province of the Dominican Republic is extremely arid and water sources are scarce.  Peace Corps volunteer, Ryan Browning, is heading the project with his community.


10,000 Liter Rain Water Harvest System

Ryan successfully installed 40 BioSand filters provided by Rotary International last year.  PLA president, Robert Hildreth, has served as the Rotary water projects chairman in the Dominican Republic since 2003.  Bob spearheaded the implementation of 12,250 HydrAid BioSand filters during the period 2011-2012.  To date, over 47,000 BioSand filters have been installed in the Dominican Republic.

@Ag Luis

Water, the most essential element to human life remains both a scarce commodity and one that is generally not apt for human consumption for most of the world’s population.  Project Las Americas has worked with the Peace Corps in dozens of water projects since 2004 and water remains a principle focus.


Home With Dignity Family Gonzalez – Gil

Nuevo Renacer, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic – July 19, 2013

The Home With Dignity project completes the Gonzalez – Gil residence in the Nuevo Renacer barrio of Puerto Plata.  This home represents the 32nd home funded by Project Las Americas in the Dominican Republic.  PLA has worked with Pastor Sandra Tineo and the Jardin de Luz Foundation since 2002 in education, health, youth and community development.


The housing project is designed after the “barn raising” concept, common in the early American tradition.  The principle objective is to bring the community together for a common need and foster community development.  Secondly, an impoverished family receives a decent home to provide stability and security for the family.  PLA provides the construction materials while community volunteers provide the labor.  This project has been a key element in the transformation of the barrio, from a cluster of people living in close proximity to a true community which exhibits concern and empathy towards one another.

School Project in La Gonave Haiti

18 July 2013 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Project Las Americas (PLA) in collaboration with Pastor Caliph Joel Phils have agreed to establish a school in Trou Louis Jeune, Isle of La Gonave Haiti.  The remodeling of an abandoned school building will begin the first week of August 2013.  Currently there are 260 children in the community who have not attended school in over two years.


School project site in La Gonave Haiti

PLA is funding with Pastor Caliph two schools located in Maranatha and Loma Bajita, Puerto Plata province of the Dominican Republic.  Education is the only true long term solution to poverty and access to economic opportunity.  The Trou Louis Jeune school will offer 1st through 6th grades.

La Gonave family

Family in Trou Louis Jeune, La Gonave


Pastor Caliph with children of Trou Louis Jeune

We are hopeful to find donors to support the funding for this project.  The building reparation and initial school supplies will cost $7,000.  Monthly teachers’ salaries will run $700 per month.  Additionally, we need to add a nutrition component for the school children, which will cost $5 monthly per student.  Interested sponsors may visit to help sponsor this education project in La Gonave Haiti, the “poorest place in the western hemisphere”.