THE WATER WISDOM OF THE COLLI IN THE PREINCANATO
By: Luis Luján Cárdenas, sociologist and journalist
Almost a thousand years ago, the ancient Peruvians of the Señorío Collique, located in the Chillón valley, in the northern zone of Lima, demonstrated an efficient and sustained water management, whose ancestral knowledge we have not managed to manage to date. But the Incas did it wisely, invading them in the fifteenth century with the army of Tupac Yupanqui, reinforced by the neighbors Quivus and Canta, who could never defeat them.
At the end of the 2016, product of climate change, warm waters of Central America, reached the coasts of Ecuador and Peru, and broke the winds and cold waters from south to north of the Humbold marine current. The temperature rose from 24 to 29 degrees, causing the Niño Coastal phenomenon, which in Peru, rains, overflows, floods and landslides caused more than one hundred deaths, almost 200 thousand homes affected and US $ 3,000 million in material damages. In the Capital of the Republic, 11 millions of inhabitants were left without water due to the lack of a national prevention policy.
The El Niño phenomenon, which occurs periodically every two to seven years, was a climatic anomaly, which the ancient Peruvian inhabitants knew how to master. The Colli, first, built their urban complexes on the slopes of the hills, prudentially removed from the channel of the river Chillón (used in their trapezoidal constructions the mud (1), knowing the seismic area in which they lived); second, they were supplied with drinking water from puquio (Quechua pukyu: spring), now called San Diego, located at 164 meters, which, coming from groundwater and supplemented by rainfall, filtered quality water all year round. It did not matter, then, if the water of the Chillón River was contaminated with mud, stones and brush, the product of the huaycos [Quechua Wayau (quebrada) and lloclla (alluvial)] due to the rain.
Third, their crops were supplied with water from the Chillón, through stone channels and they were prudentially far from the tributary; fourth, its roads and tambos (tanpu: shelter with food and water for travelers), were also located in safe areas; and, fifth, before any material damage or human loss, in unison the entire community immediately restored the damage, including the affected crops, reorienting their safe areas, as it was turned into national policy by the Incas in their vast empire in South America , who assumed and perfected the knowledge of the colli. The Spanish conquerors abandoned it.
For his bloody and courageous military resistance, the Capac Colli was slaughtered like his warriors; only women and children survived. The citadel-fortress was converted into a cemetery. In the 2000 its archaeological remains were declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation. Today, due to the lack of interest of the authorities, the ruins are abandoned, encouraging the invasions of the homeless, drug addicts, criminals and trash.
The puquio of San Diego, still bordered by stones of song placed by the colli, still exists and is used as laundry by humble housewives, public bath and swimming pool for children and adults. Eight hundred years later, incredibly, the inhabitants of the place lack the service of potable water and sewerage, and fear the damages in the rainy season.
(1) Anti-seismic mixture of high resistance and durability, composed of chemicals from mud, beans, stone, clay, dry grass and egg white guano birds.
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