EWB-USA UMN in Guatemala: Xiquin Sanahi Water Distribution System
Our current project is based out of Xiquin Sanahi, a small, agricultural-based community of about 125 families. The community is located in the mountainous region of central Guatemala, which creates challenges for water supply and distribution because most simple distribution systems are gravity controlled. Currently, a three-kilometer pipe connects a spring to a central water storage tank; however, the existing pipe is over 40 years old and undergoes constant maintenance for the community to receive water. Additionally, the storage tank is in poor condition, and someone from each family must spend hours a day making trips to the tank to bring sufficient water. The time spent transporting water negatively impacts youth education and household income. The community’s water supply is maintained by a water resource board, the COCODE, comprised of elected community members. After visiting the community in Spring 2014 and discussing EWB-USA UMN’s purpose and our capabilities, the COCODE requested our assistance in designing a potable water distribution system for their community.
The forty-year old water supply system in Xiquin Sanahi is fed by the closest underground spring, over two kilometers away. The vital supply line maneuvers through changing land elevations, resulting in a slow flow rate at the storage tank in the community. In order to ensure the community is receiving enough water, the first improvement of the water distribution system will be a new main supply pipe and pump. The water will be pumped via the new pipe to a new storage tank located at the top of the community, so that the water distribution system can be gravity-fed. Phase two of the project will be designing a solution to provide yearlong access to clean, running water to every household in the community.
The EWB-USA UMN Response
Water Distribution Improvements
After talking to the community on an assessment trip, the COCODE expressed hope that EWB-USA UMN could help them fix and improve their current water distribution system. On this trip EWB-USA UMN collected necessary data in order to accurately and effectively design a new water distribution system for the community. Our chapter is currently analyzing the various technical and community survey data we have, and will develop various design solutions in the following months. By summer 2015 we hope to implement phase one of this project in the community.
EWB-USA UMN has continued to work with the community through bi-weekly Skype calls to “Long Way Home” in Comalapa. Information and planning is shared with COCODE representatives on the call. Through this correspondence, EWB-USA UMN will be able to give frequent updates to the community while demonstrating our commitment to designing the best solution.
Summer 2016 Implementation
This past Summer (2016) saw the implementation of the finalized water distribution pipeline in Xiquin Sanahi. Continuous and engaged work with the Long Way Home NGO and Xiquin community allowed for a successful completition of the water distribution system two years in the making.
Guatemala 2016 implementation photos
With our project completed it is now our focus to continue working with and educating the Xiquin community. Constant maitenanace and observation of the pipeline and tapstands is necessary to ensure the longevity of our project. Communication with the Xiquin community is necessary to educate them on our distrubution system. Our ultimate goal is to allow the community to be completely self-sufficient in receveing the benefits of the potable water pipeline. Our Guatemala project is also working with the Long Way Home NGO to organize a new project in Parsha, Guatemala.