Our project is located in the rural community of El Chimborazo, Nicaragua where the community lacks an adequate and clean source of drinking water. Their current sources of drinking water are small springs that are open to the natural environment, allowing animals and pesticides to contaminate the water, causing the members of the community to develop water-borne illnesses. The members have difficulty seeking medical attention to treat these illnesses due to their remote location, lack of transportation, and the cost. Also, the nearby clinics often lack the medicine necessary to treat these illnesses.
Having adopted this project, it is our goal to provide El Chimborazo with a reliable and clean drinking water source using sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient methods. Our Chapter has a five-year commitment to the community in order to ensure the community’s needs are met, the project is completed properly, and the community can sustain the operation, maintenance, and cost of the project after the five years.
The project is divided into various phases: Assessment, Alternative Analysis, Implementation, and Monitoring and Evaluation. We completed our first Assessment Trip in March, 2018, in which 3 students from our team visited the community for 5 days. During this time, the team created a map of the community, laying out all sources of water and their relative locations to houses and common areas. Along with this, the team collaborated with The National University of Engineering (Managua, Nicaragua) to take samples from three sources. Professionals from the university’s Environmental Research Department are currently analyzing the samples to provide us with the specific contaminants and other water-quality parameters of the sources. While in the community, we had the opportunity to discuss the goals of the project, expected outcomes, and concerns of the community. By physically being there, our team now has a better understanding of the challenges the community faces on a daily basis.
Once the results from the tests are provided, our team will analyze the data to determine the best option to help the community. We must consider all factors when researching and designing a solution, such as the cost, sustainability, efficiency, effectiveness, and community impact. We are currently researching drinking-water filtration systems, holding tanks, water distribution to individual homes, rainwater harvesting, groundwater wells, and much more.