Puerto Pando, Bolivia Travel Update November 2017

The Missouri S&T EWB Puerto Pando, Bolivia Team began their partnership with the community in the summer of 2016 with a goal of providing Puerto Pando a sustainable potable water system. Just one and a half years later, approximately two-thirds of this project is now complete! From November 16th through November 27th, during Missouri S&T’s Thanksgiving break, ten students and two mentors traveled to Puerto Pando to implement a pipeline suspension bridge and a new water distribution system. The community has an existing water system serviced by a spring located in the surrounding jungle. However, this system, which delivers untreated water, had several points of failure that proves the water system will not be sustainable for the community in years to come. While battling the summer heat and humidity of the Bolivian jungle, students and community members worked side-by-side to connect the main water pipelines from the current water storage tank in the jungle to the distribution system in the community. The team ran out of time to complete the connections in individuals’ homes. However, prior to leaving, the team empowered the community members to complete the connections themselves, and they will soon be able to have water flowing to their homes. The pipeline suspension bridge spans approximately 226 feet and supports the water pipeline as it crosses the Arroyo Mayaya, a stream which separates the community from the spring source. Its completion was a huge engineering accomplishment for the team and took an extreme amount of effort and coordination between the travelers and the community members, all while communicating across two different languages. The team is extremely happy with the overall success of the trip and the steps that were taken towards completion of the overall goal of providing clean water to Puerto Pando. The team plans to travel again next summer to implement the water treatment components (improved collection dam, sedimentation tank, and slow sand filter) and complete the project.

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