Nueva Santa Catarina Ixathuacán (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. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused mudslides that destroyed 60-75% of the old village, Antigua Santa Catarina Ixathuacán. The new town has access to adequate roads, 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 the Rutgers Chapter ultimately 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 & distribution system is the primary phase of the project. EWB-USA Rutgers has conducted three assessment trips, two implementation trips, and one monitoring trip thus far.
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.
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 in the community, particularly those for this water supply system, from community representatives in the Water Committee and the Municipality. 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 each parties’ roles and responsibilities for the project in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
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.
First & Second Implementation Trip Travel Blog
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.
After start-up, EWB-USA Rutgers intends to ensure that water meters are installed in accordance with the MOU. EWB-USA Rutgers team is currently working on preparing for assessment for a disinfection phase of the project.
Professional Mentors: Sandra Kutzing, P.E. and David J. Tanzi, P.E.
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