Los Eucaliptos, Bolivia
During the summer of 2013, a team of students and mentors traveled to Los Eucaliptos, a village in southern Bolivia. Since the team plans to have a new well drilled in the near future, students met with a well drilling contractor and laid pipe to the site of the prospective well. The people of Los Eucaliptos are forced to turn to purchasing bottled water to survive the dry season, so the increased water supply provided by this new well has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life in the village. The construction of a community center is also in the team’s future plans. The team assessed the location of this new development. EWB S&T has been traveling to Los Eucaliptos since 2008 and has implemented many different projects over the last 5 years. These projects often require adjustments and repairs as time goes on. On this trip, the team verified that previously implemented erosion and surface water control systems were still operating correctly. The future of the team is focused on implementing canals to solve flooding problems which occur during the rainy season, implementing the community center, and installing a water purification system.
In July 2013, 12 students, 2 professional engineers and one Missouri S&T professor traveled to the community of Nahualate, located in the province of Suchitepequez, Guatemala. Nahualate takes its name from the nearby river upon which many of the 3,000 residents of Nahualate rely on as their primary water source. Many of the other approximately 500 households use shallow wells and springs, all of which are contaminated by surface water runoff with fecal coliform bacteria. Since the beginning of the Nahualate Program in 2008, the team has completed multiple assessment trips, drilled a 430′ deep well, constructed two well houses, and begun the design and construction of a water distribution system. Design of a water tower has been completed and the construction will be performed by a Guatemalan contractor in the spring of 2014. Disinfecting the water with chlorine is just one part of the team’s solution to bring potable water to Nahualate. The Guatemala team knows that educating the community on these subjects is essential, so public education was a big focus during the July 2013 trip. The team visited local schools to provide education demonstrations about basic sanitation and personal hygiene, and gave dozens of citizens their first taste of chlorinated water. Also during this last trip, the team dug trenches and installed 400 meters of PVC piping. As of late September, the local construction manager and the people of Nahualate have laid 3.6 km of piping. Since this project is so large and sophisticated, the Guatemala team is welcoming sustainability as a new overarching challenge and addressing problems with innovative ways that can be used in a rural setting like Nahualate.
In August 2013, 11 Missouri S&T students, three University of Missouri Masters in Public Health students, and two advisors traveled to Santiago, Honduras. Santiago is home to approximately 8,000 people, but the town is operating on a water system that was originally created to sustain a much smaller population. The major problems the team faces are poor water quality due to contamination in the distribution system, water unavailability due to an unpressurized system, poor system design, and heavy leakage. This trip was a combined implementation and assessment trip. The team installed a chlorine metering pump at one of the community’s four wells and trained the municipality workers to operate and maintain it. The team also conducted several assessment activities including the gathering of survey data, taking water quality samples before and after the introduction of chlorine, the installation of eight water meters to gather water usage data, and the mapping of previously unknown portions of distribution system. The primary goals for the coming year involve creating a better system for documenting any changes made to the system by the community members, supplying the municipality with an efficient method of identifying and fixing leaks, and designing solutions to ensure that all areas of the community consistently receive water. The overall objective of the EWB S&T Honduras Program is to provide Santiago, Cortes, Honduras with an efficiently managed and operated water system, with adequate and high-quality source water that is appropriately treated and available 24/7 for all customers.
This summer seven students and two mentors traveled to Tacachia, Bolivia to continue EWB-S&T’s work in the small Andean community. The primary purpose of this eight day trip in July was the building of a cable-suspension bridge across one of the neighboring rivers to hold a water distribution pipeline. Students worked with the mentors and the community to see the student lead design implemented. This involved surveying, re-design calculations, mixing concrete, and much more. The team was able to see the completion of the bridge before departure. The team also assessed previously implemented projects including biosand filters and an erosion control project began in the summer of 2012. Maintenance was performed on existing ram pumps in the community. During the 2013-2014 school year, the team has plans of completing the water distribution system and locating the best possible water source for the community.