EWB-UMN in Honduras: Water Distribution
In the 1960’s, the government of Honduras started on a campaign to improve the countries’ water systems. They initiated SANAA, the National Water and Sewer Authority, which focused their efforts on improving water access to rural communities. The water system that our chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working with was built in the mid-1980s. Over the past few decades, the communities that were originally served by this system grew beyond what the system was originally designed to handle. With few upgrades to the system, the communities are left with inadequate or inequitable supplies of water. Some neighborhoods receive as much water as they want at over 60psi of pressure while others are lucky to turn their taps on and get anything but air.
There are nine communities that are served by the current water system. The main source of income for many families is agriculture. Within these communities are an estimated 3500 residents distributed among 540 families. The native language of the people in the area is Spanish. The communities of El Espino, El Desmonte, El Pozo, El Culan, Las Pilas, El Bufalo, El Pueblito, Las Tunas, and La Vega each have their own water system administration body, called the Junta de Agua or Water Board. More recently, a main water board was created in order to oversee the system as a whole.
In 2008, Engineers Without Borders- Minnesota Professionals Chapter was approached by Global Community Development (GCD), a non-governmental organization that works in the area. They completed two week-long assessment trips in June of 2009 and February of 2010. In April of 2010, the Engineers Without Borders University of Minnesota Student Chapter joined up with the professional chapter on the Honduras Project.