Bolivia Water Sanitation
The community of Asanquiri is located in the highlands of Bolivia. Young adults from this village and surrounding communities are taught at the Center of Humanistic Education in Asanquiri (CETHA). CETHA is a local NGO that reaches out to 28 communities in northern Potosi, focusing on reducing child malnutrition. CETHA also has an agricultural school in Asanquiri where their students live and take classes to learn responsible agricultural practices and other skills to improve their livelihood while maintaining the local Andean culture.
Due to the seasonal rainfall cycle in the region, the school often runs dangerously low on water during the dry season. Their only water source is a spring. The spring box is open and unguarded, which allows animals to trample and defecate in the spring. Diarrhea is a common problem amongst this community, and the cause most likely comes from bacteria found in their water.
| The Need |
A new water source is needed to increase water supply. In addition, this water source and the existing water source must be cleaned to reduce the number of cases of waterborne illnesses.
| The EWB-USA Response |
Five members from the chapter at NCSU traveled to Bolivia in January 2007. There, they visited Asanquiri, the Capacitation Center, and several other villages that surround the Center. The need for improvement was greatest at the Capacitation Center, so the focus of the project shifted from the village to the learning center. The team took water samples at their various tanks, spigots and a spring. A health assessment revealed diarrhea as the main health concern.
Four members from the chapter at NCSU and one adviser traveled to Asanquiri in August 2009. Upon arrival, the community made it clear that water quantity was their biggest concern. In response, the team focused its energy and resources on constructing a large 5000 liter rainwater harvesting system rather than on water sanitation. The team used only local services and products to implement the project, making it replicable and allowing for easier sustainability.
In May 2011, three NCSU students and one adviser traveled back to Asanquiri to evaluate the existing rainwater catchment system as well as the community’s surrounding area. From this assessment, they determined that stored water quantity was still their primary goal.
Seven NCSU students and one adviser traveled to Asanquiri for an implementation trip in May 2013. They worked with the community to provide CETHA with a second rainwater harvesting system and further assessed surrounding areas and communities for future projects. After interviewing professors and students at CETHA and neighboring schools, the greatest need is still water quantity.
| Moving Forward |
We plan to monitor the recently implemented rainwater catchment system. The community expressed a desire for knowledge of water technology and agriculture.
Providing CETHA with water collection and treatment systems will produce tangible and intangible benefits to the community, directly improving the quality and quantity their potable water while familiarizing their students with reproducible technology that can be implemented in their homes and other regions. Potential expansion of work into the nearby area of Santiago with irrigation systems will also be evaluated in-region.
To bolster this effort we will foster an open dialogue with the community about the operation and prevalence of usage of such water systems while taking advantage of the in-region commitment and resources of the Capacitation Center to provide ongoing support that lasts beyond the end of the assessment and implementation trip.
| Future Projects |
We are beginning a new project with CETHA this fall 2013. Donations are greatly appreciated as it helps further our project goals. If you would like to help, please donate on our donate page or contact the project lead.
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| Documents |