Guatemala: Ongoing Project History
El Pericón Chuacorral Sector II is located in the Joyabaj region of Guatemala. This close knit community of 456 people has been searching for a reliable source of water for over two decades. In rural Guatemala, often sources of water are either scarce, located far away, and are at high risk of contamination. Fortunately in El Pericón, a well was dug in 2019; however, they have been in need of a distribution system to bring water to homes ever since.
The Guatemala Project of the Engineers Without Borders, UW-Madison Chapter has designed a system to draw water from the well up to a storage tank, and from the tank, water will be supplied to the 119 taps located throughout the community. Implementation is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022.
Phase One of construction began in early May. However, persistent global economic challenges have continued to raise material prices in Guatemala. Because of this, the total project cost has risen unexpectedly over the past several months. In order to complete Phase Two of construction, additional funds must be raised in order for the project to be considered fully funded.
The El Pericón Chuacorral Sector II project is in the pre-implementation phase. Our members have worked hard this past semester to complete the design of our water system and address any potential issues we noticed in the design. We have gotten many positive comments from the EWB office in Guatemala and are looking forward to beginning Phase I of the construction of our system. Due to COVID-19, we are executing a virtual construction for Phase I of our water project in order to maintain an appropriate timeline for our community's benefit. We will be working with our team and mentors to ensure that the virtual construction is just as successful as if we had been able to travel and perform it ourselves. With that said, we are very confident in our system's success thanks to the excellent team in Guatemala we have been able to work with that are doing everything they can to help us make this project a success!
The El Pericón Chuacorral Sector II project is in pre-assessment phase right now. We have gotten some fantastic information and photos of the community from the EWB office in Guatemala. Due to COVID-19 we are executing a virtual assessment for our water project in order to keep the timeline for this project on track. We will be working with our team and mentors to think outside of the box about how to make a virtual assessment just as successful as if we had been able to travel and perform it ourselves. One advantage we have is the excellent team in Guatemala we have been able to work with that are doing everything they can to help us make this project a success!
This past semester was busy and productive! We introduced the New Student Project to provide new members with hands on experience during our weekly meetings. Students learned to design break pressure tanks and participated in workshops related to their construction, such as pouring concrete. After partnering with Rotary and finalizing funding for the project, we were able to plan our January implementation trip. Over winter break, nine students and two mentors traveled to Zapote and began construction on the large 35 cubic meter distribution tank, pouring concrete, and working with rebar. The project is expected to be completed in April.
Guatemala began developing our operations and maintenance plan for Zapote. We also finished installing the conduction line! The conduction line runs water from the springs to the community. Though the water reaches the school, it has not been chlorinated or treated, and there is no way to store it. More progress to come next semester!
Former Project Managers Tabatha Davis and Rebecca Alcock had the opportunity to intern with EWB-USA in Guatemala. Not only did they participate in the continued implementation of the Zapote Water System, but they also assessed and implemented other projects. The Guatemala team received approval from EWB-USA for the final design of the water system and continued constructing the water system’s conduction line. We began contacting Rotary to apply for an international partnership. A partnership with Rotary not only provides valuable connections within the nonprofit sector, but also offers substantial funding towards our project.
The community of Zapote had a few extra visitors during the middle portion of the month -- the EWB-UW travel team! The team assessed the progress of the implementation of the Zapote Water Project, a 15 kilometer water distribution system. The entire line was hiked and potential obstacles were identified. A ton of data was collected for the remaining design features such as elevations, flow rates & soil site investigations. The Guatemala team continues to work with EWB-USA and our amazing mentors to finalize our designs in the hopes of getting final approval this Spring.
The implementation of the Rio Lindo Pedestrian Suspension bridge has been completed. After the travel team helped construct the bridge from the ground-up in May of 2017, the deck boards were finished and the fencing was in place by the middle of June. The first people to cross the bridge were the community of Rio Lindo’s leaders and a large “fiesta” was had during a perfect Guatemalan summer afternoon. Many thanks to all those who contributed to this project to help make it a success!
Guatemala project is currently working hard on the final design submission for Rio Lindo, which will allow a community of approximately 300 persons year-round access over a river that seasonally floods. This will give the community access to health posts, school, and markets. The team is also designing the components of the water system for Zapote. The project will require approximately 18 kilometers of piping, two tanks, six suspended crossings, and three break pressure tanks. We will be implementing this project in the Winter of 2018. There is always a lot to do, so stop on by!
This semester we worked on two projects: the Rio Lindo Pedestrian Bridge and the Zapote Water system. The Rio Lindo Bridge spans 35 meters across the Rio Pasaguay. The Zapote project water system needed to navigate varying elevations with a total of 12km of piping, and an assessment trip showed widespread success of the Azucenas water system, built from August 2015 – January 2016. The community had access to clean water, and water storage and water-borne illness decreased. The overall lessons learned and design concepts of Azucenas served as an excellent platform for the Zapote project.
Guatemala finally completed the Azucenas project! The Azucenas projects allows water to flow through the conduction line and fill a 20,000 liter water tank in less than four hours. EWB-UW Guatemala project also started a new project – the Rio Lindo Pedestrian Bridge. The Rio Lindo bridge project connects the community of Rio Lindo to neighboring villages (Tzitzil, Pasaguay and Quiacoj) by building a pedestrian bridge across the Rio Lindo river. The community is currently cut off from these nearby communities during the rainy season when the Rio Lindo river becomes flooded and impassible. The bridge attempts to eliminate a three hour one-way trip to these neighboring communities.
In late July and early August, a team of UW-Madison students and professional mentors traveled to Guatemala to implement the Azucenas water system. The travel group installed over 9 kilometers of pipe and critical infrastructure including a 20,000 liter tank, three springboxes, and a 10 meter suspended crossing for the pipeline. Every day, over 100 community members helped to build the system, and the travel team continued to build community relationships.
The Guatemala Project sent a team to Guatemala in January for continued monitoring and assessment of our water projects. In Pajuya, the travel team completed water testing and system monitoring. In Azucenas, we collected additional water data, examined locations, suspended crossings, and met with leadership to discuss system management. We began designing spring boxes, conduction lines, suspended crossings, and a 20,000 liter distribution tank. We achieved our goal of constructing some of the most important structures of our system in July.
Summer/Fall 2014: A team of students and mentors from the Guatemala project traveled to Guatemala in July for a post-implementation visit to Pajuya and a pre-implementation trip for a new water project in the community of Azucenas. The Azucenas system provides clean, potable water to a community home to 90 families. We submitted documents to EWB-USA and determined our objectives for the upcoming trip: continue monitoring of our Pajuya project, obtain signed “Memorandum of Understanding,” perform water quality testing, and complete data collection and surveying. We also received grants from the Pieper Student Leadership fund and the Antea Group totaling $7,000.
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