Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Engineers Without Borders - USA (EWB-USA) Guatemala Project





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Guatemala Project

Project Cost
$82,690.00
Assessment Cost
$11,000.00
Implementation Cost
$71,690.00
Funds Needed
$16,629.0
Background
NSCI, Guatemala is a village of approximately 4,000 people of Mayan descent and has been in existence since 2000.The town was originally located about 20 km away from its current location. Hurricane Mitch in 1998caused mudslides that destroyed 60-75% of the old village. The new town has access to good roads, decent houses, schools, health centers and farming land, but faces a crucial problem of insufficient water supply for domestic use. The Water Committee of NSCI sought help from EWB-USA and thus the Rutgers Chapter got involved with the project in January 2009. The project has technical and financial support from the local Municipality.  Repair and Redesign of NSCI's Water Supply System is the main goal of the project. EWB-USA Rutgers has conducted three project assessments and one implementation thus far.






The Need

Inhabitants of this 4,000 person community have access to about 30 minutes/day water supply in the dry season and about 2 hours/day in the wet season. This water comes from pump-well and gravity-fed sources which dry up in the summer. The water is insufficient and unclean. However, NSCI has access to a pumped water supply system which failed in 2004. The goal of this project is to repair and redesign the water supply system for NSCI which can provide a 24 hour water supply all year long. It will improve sanitation and overall quality of life for the people in NSCI.

EWB-USA Response

Thorough Assessment
Three assessment trips in August2009, January 2010 and August2010 respectively were carried out to gain a thorough understanding of the problems and solutions for this water supply system. Educational programs about water conservation and sanitation were conducted in schools and community centers. Efforts were made to ensure agreement of all the parties about their responsibilities for the project and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
Implementation
The implementation for this project commenced in March 2011. The community members have committed to provide volunteer labor for the project. The implementation involves construction of concrete chambers to house pumps, repair/replacement of conduction pipeline and installation of new pumps. EWB-USA Rutgers will provide technical expertise and80% of the capital cost for implementation. Projected completion of the implementation is July 2011.
Following Up
The Memorandum Of Understanding, technical training for community members, installation of water meters at every house, a strong operation and maintenance plan by the community, and educational programs are some aspects of this project that will make it sustainable. After implementation, EWB-USA Rutgers plans to receive regular updates from the community about the system and also conduct follow up trips to assess the success of the project.
Moving Forward
EWB-USA Rutgers team is currently focusing on raising the remaining funds for a successful implementation in July 2011. Efforts include a dedicated group of students constantly approaching foundation and corporate sponsors for the project while planning fundraising events on campus. EWB-USA Rutgers is also finalizing some technical aspects of the design by addressing comments made by the Technical Advisory Committee. It is preparing an educational program to be implemented in July 2011 to reinforce the importance of water conservation and sanitation in the community.

Current Project Leads: Natalie Wright
Professional Mentors: Sandra Kutzing, P.E. and David J. Tanzi, P.E.
First & Second Implementation Trip Travel Blog Here

Project Sponsors:
  

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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.