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This summer the team returned to Los Eucaliptos to monitor all existing projects as well as visited a nearby community, Erquiz Oropeza, to perform an assessment of a potential partnership. Everything previously installed in Los Eucaliptos is working as designed and all the homes with house connections have running water. EWB-S&T also talked to individual community members to see how the water has impacted their daily lives. Many community members commented about how they no longer spend long hours collecting water and are seeing little to no negative health problems due to the water. The team spent some time discussing shock chlorination and maintenance of the water system with the community before closing out the project and saying goodbye to all the friends made in Los Eucaliptos.
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The team then arrived in Erquiz Oropeza to a warm, traditional Tarija welcome, followed by a tour from the community’s leaders. The rest of the time was spent interviewing community members about their current living situation and health concerns. The team also conducted a topographical survey of the area to gather the pertinent data needed to design a water system over the next few years. The team as well as the members of Erquiz Oropeza are excited to be working together and are hopeful for a successful partnership. To top off such an incredible trip, EWB-S&T spent a free day exploring La Paz before heading back to Missouri. Overall, the trip went smoothly and the team was thrilled to see such positive results in Los Eucaliptos and eager to begin designing for Erquiz Oropeza.
In Los Eucaliptos we had a few projects to implement this summer, all working towards the common goal of providing potable water. The biggest task was the construction of the well house. The well house contains all of the electrical controls necessary to operate the system. It was completed with the considerable help of Celso, the community’s president and a mason, and other community members. There was existing galvanized steel pipe that we removed and rethreaded to go into the well house, through a pipe tree containing valves, and out by the well. To avoid possible contamination, we decided to install lot connections for each house in the community. This allows each community member to connect water to their house however they please without risking contamination to the system. The last project we started while in country was the fencing around the well house. After placing the posts and gate locations, the community knew how to finish the remaining work.
The completed well house Digging out old pipes
Following the completion of our implementation projects, we inspected systems we had installed in previous years. We found that the houses suffering from up seepage had not experienced any more following the installation of a French Drain last summer. The distribution piping was in good condition and only required minimal repairs following saddle valve installations. Last summer, we had to patch leaks on the water storage tank. This year we didn’t find any issues with the tank.
We placed a big emphasis on educating the community on all aspects of their system to ensure sustainability. The community had a heavy hand in the construction of the well house, which provides them with an excellent knowledge of how to maintain it. The community has an elected water committee to manage the system. The community’s electricity company, SETAR, installed electrical connections necessary to operate the well pump. With the implementation of these projects, as soon as the well pump is installed by COFADENA, the well drilling company, water will be flowing in Los Eucaliptos. The community has the necessary materials and knowledge of how to shock chlorinate their system after it is completed. This will achieve the goal of our work in Los Eucaliptos and will provide the community with a potable water system and the knowledge of how to maintain it.