Each small fast flowing stream offers a wealth of clean, free energy just waiting to be used. Putting unused small waterpower resources to work would have a major positive effect on rural poverty.
Many of the machines vital to productivity and human comfort can be run just as easily with waterpower as by an electric motor. The equipment for these small high speed turbines is neither complicated nor expensive to produce, but was simply not available. Yet for many rural people, small scale water-power is the only practical local source of mechanical energy, now and forever.
Although waterpower was humanity's only reliable source of energy for running machinery for thousands of years, it was abandoned with the advent of centralized electricity generating systems feeding long distance power lines. By using modern micro-turbines, local waterpower resources can once again be used for what it does best... drive machines. Most machines found in workshops are driven by electric motors of 0.5 - 5 hp. Small efficient turbines can easily produce this amount of power from a surprisingly small quantity of water falling a short distance.
Unlike electric motors, turbines cannot be damaged by hard use and cost nothing to operate. Since such a turbine was not available, we decided to design one at Campo Nuevo. The Campo Nuevo 'Watermotor' is the result. At our demonstration site, the 'Watermotor' produces ample power to run a variety of machines. Water pressure is obtained from a source l8.3 m. (60 ft.) above the Watermotor.
Apart from woodworking, we also are using the 'Watermotor' to charge batteries and run an air compressor. The Campo Nuevo waterpower demonstration site is located near the village of Coroico, about 3 hours east of La Paz. This area produces coffee, citrus, bananas, and other tropical products. The inhabitants are indigenous Aymara speakers, generally impoverished and under great economic pressure. Many are being forced to relocate to a high, desolate over-sized village called El Alto, near La Paz, Bolivia's capital, just to survive. We would like to help these people to remain in their communities and maintain their ancient and unique culture and economic independence. The productive use of this area's enormous waterpower resources would help to do this.