Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

James R. Mihelcic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mauricio E. Arias, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ryan W. Schweitzer, Ph.D.


SIASAR, gravity-fed water system, drinking water, monitoring & evaluation, Sustainable Development Goals


Globally, there is still a large number of people without access to safe drinking water; a known health risk. In rural areas of countries like Peru, when potable water systems are built the responsibility for maintaining these systems is given to volunteer water committees. Despite its prevalence as a management model, there is a consensus that community management alone cannot ensure sustainable water service. Therefore, the overall goal of this research is to assess the sustainability of community-managed water systems in rural areas of the department of Amazonas, Peru. Specifically, this research examines two mechanisms that have been shown to improve the sustainability of rural water systems: 1) monitoring for asset management and service delivery, and 2) provision of long-term external support.

In Amazonas, three sustainability assessment tools have been used recently to monitor the service level and management of water systems. These assessment tools are: the Rural Water and Sanitation Information System (SIASAR, in Spanish), Tracers in Rural Water and Sanitation (Trazadores, in Spanish), and the Diagnostic Survey for Water Supply and Sanitation (Diagnostico, in Spanish). The three tools were assessed using a question mapping technique as well as a sustainability assessment tool evaluation matrix. This analysis identified the SIASAR assessment tool to be the most appropriate for ensuring sustainability of rural water supply systems.

This research also used the data collected with the SIASAR and Trazadores assessment tools to assess the state of community-managed rural water systems in Amazonas. The analysis showed that 81% of systems in the SIASAR analysis and 58% of systems in the Trazadores analysis have deficiencies that are beyond the ability of the water committee to overcome.

In recent years, the Peruvian government has prioritized the creation of an office in each district dedicated to providing external technical support to local water committees. This office, called the Área Técnica Municipal de Agua y Saneamiento (ATM), is charged with formalizing and training water committees which are given the name, Juntas Administradoras de los Servicios de Saneamiento (JASS).

In order to examine the provision of long-term external support provided by the ATM to the JASS, field research was conducted in six districts in Amazonas. Valuable anecdotal evidence was provided by the field research that helped to form recommendations for strengthening the capacity of the ATM office at the local municipal level.

The results of this research demonstrate that currently a large number of community-managed rural water systems in Amazonas are not sustainable but that the prioritization of monitoring and external support is an encouraging sign. If these mechanisms continue to be prioritized then it is highly likely that water systems throughout Amazonas and Peru will become more sustainable, bringing benefits to millions of Peruvians in rural areas.