Cistern Building

Why are Cisterns Needed?

In the small, rural villages in the southern Yucatan, there is no public water system that supplies potable water to homes. Water must be carried from small surface lakes by the women or small children. In the past, several hours each day were spent hauling 15-20 gallons of dirty, unhealthy water to their homes.


In 2002 Todd Luke realized that large, private water cisterns could greatly improve the lives and health of local residents. The first above ground 6,000 gallon cistern built in Castilla Brito has greatly improved the lives of the Juan Perez family. In the years that followed over 300 cisterns have been built in the area. Of this number 56 are in the village of Castilla Brito.


Cistern Cost

The cost of re-bar, sand, gravel, and cement for a cistern built in 2014 is $1800 US. These funds are usually provided by a group that visits the Luke family and help with the construction of two to four cisterns per week.

How Cisterns Work


Repayment for Cisterns

Families that receive a cistern agree to work on other cisterns and re-pay the $1800 US material cost of their cistern. As these funds are re-paid, these monies are used to build cisterns for other deserving families.

Get Involved

If you feel so led, become part of the cistern building project. Or, make a contribution that will be used specifically for the project.