Chirijuyu, Guatemala

CHIRIJUYU

Background

Chirijuyu and EWB-USA UMN officially partnered in Fall 2019 to address the need for drinking water within the community.

Chirijuyu is located on the outskirts of the municipality of Comalapa, near the municipality’s border with neighboring Zaragosa. Culturally, Chirijuyu is different from Comalapa. While the population of Comalapa is largely Kaqchikel, an indigenous Mayan peoples, Chirijuyu is one of the few villages that is not indigenous and does not speak Kaqchikel, only Spanish.  This, in combination with their distance from Comalapa, creates an obstacle for Chirijuyu to get assistance from the municipality. 

We hope to harness their spring water to create a water distribution system that services the 250 community members of Chirijuyu.

Our Work

In May 2019, EWB-USA UMN visited Chirijuyu for the first time. We met with the COCODE (community leaders) and talked about their current struggles. As a budding community, they have many plans like building a school, obtaining a cemetary, creating a more efficient sanitation system, but their main priority was drinking water. Currently, their water sources are a stream 2 kilometers away, a public tap stand in Las Lomas, or water from their hand dug wells that are unfortunately drying out. 

Chirijuyu has just recently bought a spring and, with some engineering help, they hope to use the spring water as a consistent source for drinking water throughout the year. They would like to create a water distribution system to deliver water to every house in the community. 

The EWB-USA UMN Guatemala Program spent the 2019-2020 school year planning an assessment trip. The purpose of the assessment trip is to collect data on the community’s topography, evaluate the spring’s flow rate and water quality data, and complete a demographic survey, all in preparation for design and implementation years to come. The project team has been in consistent communication with Chirijuyu to further refine the need and to drive the project forward.

This year, our chapter is exploring a technique called photogrammetry to create 3D models of objects and elevation changes.. A drone will be flown over the community to collect hundreds of photos. The photos will be stitched together to create an accurate and to-scale 3D map of the community’s elevation profile. Not only will this be incredibly useful to design the pipelines in the system, but also will help with visualization of the project. Further, using a drone for surveying will require just 1 hour of flying in the sky, while traditional methods would have taken several days. 

When COVID-19 hit, our program responded immediately to adjust to the situation. In order to remain on-track for a planned implementation trip in May 2021, we developed a remote assessment plan. With the help of the EWB Guatemala In-Country Office, Long Way Home, and local contractors, all of the data needed will be collected in time for the design phase of the project.

NGO Collaboration

As long as we’ve been in Comalapa, we’ve worked with our local NGO representatives, Long Way Home. Long Way Home has been a constant for many projects throughout the years.  LWH is a local non profit that emphasizes sustainability, education, and democracy. As our “boots on the ground,” they assist with translation, cultural knowledge, communication with our partner communities, and sourcing materials. This year, LWH has consistently visited Chirijuyu for us and hosted community calls to help with translation.

Where We Are


For more information, contact:
Dani Alfonzo at alon026@umn.edu or Ben Kroll at kroll155@umn.edu

Guatemala Project Meetings are held every Thursday from 7-8:30 pm.