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EWB-S&T began a partnership in Atahuallani, Bolivia in 2019. This community lies below Mount Illimani, about five hours away from the capital city of La Paz. The goal of our project is to provide clean water from a nearby source. The people of Atahuallani current water supply are contaminated by animal waste and runoff from a local mine. After completion of our water system project, the team will be switching to improve sanitation within the community through the implementation of a latrine system.
The first step is a preliminary assessment trip which was completed in July of 2019 to identify and survey potential water sources. We have used this survey data to map where water flows from nearby glaciers down into Atahuallani. The community has requested not to use an existing canal to supply water to residents as the water flow is barely sufficient to maintain irrigation during the dry season. Therefore, we are considering using a natural canal located above Atahuallani. This plan is beyond anything we have done before, as this natural canal includes more than a thousand-foot drop in elevation in a short distance of a few thousand feet.
Community Members in Atahuallani help with trenching and laying pipe for a supply pipeline during remote implementation in March 2021.
After traveling in the summer of 2019, EWB-S&T made the decision to partner with Atahuallani as their new project location. The team started work on researching and designing potential alternative systems to best fit the need of the community for a clean, reliable, water source.
After the initial trip the team decided to design and implement a water distribution system through collection from a glacial runoff stream. Implementation reports and construction steps were completed for the supply pipeline and storage tank systems. Covid-19 hit and remote implementation was utilized with help from our partner Engineers In Action and the Atahuallani community.
Implementation reports and construction steps for a collection dam, further storage tank system, and distribution system were completed with planned remote implementation in February of 2022, and hopeful monitoring and evaluation trip planned for the summer.
The team decided to stick with the community with hopes to provide a latrine system to prevent further water contamination of farming and local streams still in-use by community members. They are currently researching alternative latrine designs.
We will return to the community in early August 2022 to evaluate our remotely implemented water system and continue to push for designs that improve community health and well being by working to design and build a latrine system in the coming years.