Guatemala (Past)

 

Cause

Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, or NSCI, Guatemala is a small Mayan community of approximately 6,000 people founded in 2000. In 19998, the people of this community were hit by Hurricane Mitch, destroying their village and forcing them to move 20 KM away to the new location of NSCI. NGOs and the Guatemalan government helped the community rebuild and provided well-built roads, houses, and farmland. Unfortunately, the initial water system provided was installed incorrectly, and the people of NSCI were left without steady access to water. In 2009, the Water Committee of NSCI sought help from EWB-USA to address the insufficient water supply and the project was adopted by the Rutgers University Chapter.

Game Plan

 

Assessment Trips Three assessment trips in August 2009, January 2010 and August 2010 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 and 80% 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.
Following Up 2 With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and in anticipation of system start-up, we’ve begun some measures with the goal of sustaining our program through community outreach and operation and maintenance manual for system operators. The Water Committee and Municipality have also ensured for measures such as: installation of water meters at every household, the training of fontaneros or workers to maintain the pumps and pipeline, a committed unskilled labor force, and a maintenance fund. Since July 2012, an EWB-USA Rutgers locally employed engineer has conducted regular site visits to check on the pipe integrity as well as to ensure that the requirements of the MOU are met. On the Jan 2013 monitoring trip, we inspected the pipeline and provided suggestions to the contractor for modifications to strengthen the pipe, conducted surveys to establish a baseline as part of our monitoring plan, and gathered preliminary water quality testing data.
Monitoring Thus far, the EWB-USA Rutgers team has traveled on three Monitoring trips. In January of 2013, the team traveled to the community to prepare for system start up. EWB-USA Rutgers inspected the pipeline and suggested modifications to strengthen the pipe. Baseline surveys and preliminary water quality data were collected. In July of 2013, the community successfully was able to start up the pump system, bringing more water from the spring source into the community. In August of 2014, the team traveled back to the community to investigate issues after start-up. After walking the gravity pipeline portion of the system, it was noted that pressure of the water exceeded the capability of the PVC pipeline at some points. Additionally, when running a test within the community, despite enough water reaching the tank that distributes into town, the water did not seem to be reaching homes. In January of 2016, EWB-USA Rutgers traveled to the community with the main purpose of investigating the internal distribution system. Ten sample water meters were installed at homes within each neighborhood in the community and valve flow-in and flow-out data was collected. The team left the community with technical recommendations for how to optimize the system.

Project Leads

Elaine Yu, Natalie Wright, Monal Agrawal, Namrata Kulkarni, Julian Modesto, Divya Vijapurapu, Jaslin Singh and Samantha Hansen.

Professional Mentors

Sandra Kutzing, P.E. and David J. Tanzi, P.E.

Project Blog