Agua Fria, Ecuador

Team Lead: Nathan Erickson (

Agua Fria is a rural community near coastal Ecuador, with about 50 families (about 250 people). The community’s current water sources are river water and rain water, and the team hopes to design a system that will provide potable drinking water to as much of the community as possible.

Travel January 2019

Engineers Without Borders-S&T met a new community, Agua Fria, Ecuador in January 2019. Agua Fria, is situated a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and is home to roughly 250 people who are in need of a reliable source of clean water. During our first visit, we spoke with each family to listen to their ideas, concerns, and to ensure our plan would satisfy as many needs as possible. Community leaders guided students to potential sources of water where we collected water samples. That semester, we analysed collected data while considering the community’s needs and wants. We developed a decision matrix determining the best method is rain water catchment system to provide water to the central part of the community.

Travel August 2019

In August, five S&T undergraduate students, two Mizzou graduate students, and two professional mentors traveled to Agua Fria to install the first system on the centrally located school. This was a critical first step towards providing potable water to residents in Agua Fria. During construction, we conducted in-depth interviews with each home to ensure further steps in our project would continue to meet the community’s need. We also collected more samples from other potential sources to provide water to every home in the community. We ended with a friendly soccer game sendoff (where we got our butts kicked!), the team reluctantly offered their goodbyes. We evaluated potential sources of water deciding on designing a chlorinated gravity-fed pipeline distribution system from a local river with rainwater catchment systems on homes too distant or situated above the gravity-fed system.

Looking ahead

EWB-S&T is excited to continue working with the community of Agua Fria, and also the opportunity to re-match the kids in soccer! Either in August or November of 2020 the team is hoping to implement rainwater catchment systems on community members’ homes.

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