Getting Water from a Stone

One of the Sacred Valley’s most popular attractions are the Salineras de Maras, or the Salt Ponds of Maras. There are over 6,000 of these salt-evaporation ponds, each owned by a local family. The salt ponds—which still function today–trace their origin back to the Inca empire, when salt was used as a trading commodity.

There’s only one problem with the Salt Ponds of Maras; if you live anywhere near them, your water is too salty to be drinkable. This was a serious issue for the people of Mullak’as – Misminay.

The only drinking water available for the inhabitants of this small Andean village was a small spring many miles away. Every morning at 5:00 a.m., one member of each family had to walk those miles to bring home two buckets of water, each family’s daily allowance.

Condor Travel and its non-profit arm, Wings, consulted with community leaders as to how to bring about a solution to this serious issue.

In 2013, Condor Travel bought in an engineer who conducted a typographical study of the region, and discovered that a hill near the community that was of volcanic origin. This meant the hill had not been affected by the salty soil like the rest of the region. It would be able to provide something the village of Mullak’as – Misminay never had–a source of clean, fresh water.

Working closely with the community, Condor Travel and Wings funded the development of a long tunnel at the bottom of the volcanic hill that could store sufficient rainwater for the families of village.

The next step was the building of a reservoir so that the 150 families of Mullak’as – Misminay could not only have sufficient water for their daily needs (far more than two bucket’s’ worth), but that there would be water left over for irrigating their fields, as well.

This massive water project was over four years in the making, and became fully operational in 2018. And for the people of Mullak’as – Misminay, the days of walking miles for fresh water were over.

If you would like to visit Mullak’as – Misminay as a part of your journey to the Sacred Valley, check out this trip here from Condor Travel.