Our most recently completed project in Guatemala was in Xiquin Sanahi, a small, agricultural community of about 125 families. The community is located in the central Guatemalan district of Chimaltenango where water supplies were inconsistent and distribution systems were challenging due to the mountainous terrain. Prior to our chapter’s collaboration with the community, a three-kilometer pipe connected a spring to a central water storage tank; however, this pipe was over 40 years old and required constant maintenance for the community to receive water, and regularly broke. Additionally, the storage tank was in poor condition, and each family spent many hours every day carrying water back to their homes. This excessive time spent transporting water negatively impacted youth education and household income. After our visit to the community in Spring 2014, the COCODE of Xiquin Sanahi (an elected board of local leaders) requested our assistance in designing a potable water distribution system for their community.
The forty-year old water supply system in Xiquin Sanahi was fed by the closest underground spring, over two kilometers away. The vital supply line maneuvered through changing land elevations, resulting in a slow flow rate at the storage tank in the community. In order to ensure the community was receiving enough water, the first improvement of the water distribution system was a new main supply pipe and pump. The water is now pumped via the new pipe to a new storage tank located at the top of the community, so that the water distribution system could be gravity-fed. Phase two of the project was designing a solution to provide yearlong access to clean, running water to every household in the community.
Distribution System Implementation
After collecting relevant demographic, survey, and water quality data on the 2014 assessment trip, our chapter work with the community to design a water distribution and chlorination system to meet their needs. The first half of this system, including modifications to the water source and a storage tank, was installed during the summer of 2015. In summer 2016, the second half of the project was completed. This phase included installation of distribution pipelines with tapstands at each of the houses in Xiquin Sanahi. Continuous and engaged work with the Long Way Home NGO and Xiquin Sanahi community allowed for a successful completion of the water distribution system two years in the making.
With the completion of the implementation phase of the Xiquin Sanahi project, our chapter will continue to work with the community to ensure that the system is properly maintained and meets their needs. This constant maintenance and observation of the pipeline and tapstands is necessary to ensure the longevity of the project. Our ultimate goal is to provide the community with the expertise necessary to sustain the system over time. The Guatemala Project will continue to work with Long Way Home in Paraxaj, a community neighboring Xiquin Sanahi.
Guatemala 2016 implementation photos