Water Resources Professional Project Reports

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



The Altiplano region of Bolivia located between Lake Titicaca and La Paz is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Demands for safe drinking water, sewage treatment and cleaner industrial and agriculture methods are not being met and are adversely affecting surface and groundwater sources. Detrimental water quality often leads to water borne illnesses that can be fatal, especially in young children, the elderly and immune compromised individuals. This paper describes a project that was conducted to determine the impact of El Alto and surrounding communities on the water quality of the Rio Katari and its principal tributaries. Water samples were collected and analyzed in January and June 2009 to determine the seasonal changes and the spatial variability in the Rio Katari, Rio Seco and Rio Pallina. Results indicate that the waters of the Rio Seco and Rio Pallina are greatly impacted by anthropogenic activities from the cities of El Alto and Viacha. The Rio Katari is impacted by agricultural uses and the discharge of the Rio Pallina. At all sampling locations during both sampling events fecal coliform exceeded Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Minimum Concentration Limit (MCL). In addition to fecal coliform nitrate-N exceeded its SDWA MCL and World Health Organization (WHO) recommended limit at one location and neared the SDWA MCL and WHO recommended limit at other locations. Toluene exceeded its SDWA MCL and WHO recommended limit at multiple locations, and sulfate exceeded its SDWA MCL at two locations.

Language (ISO)



Altiplano, Bolivia, Rio Katari, Rio Seco, Rio Pallina, El Alto, Viacha, water chemistry, waterborne illness


Professional Project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Masters in Water Resources, Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico, 2009.