La Palma Water Distribution System (2012-Present)
EWB-Valpo is working with the village of La Palma in Nicaragua to help rehabilitate their water distribution system. La Palma is a small village on the east side of Ometepe Island on the base of the volcano Maderas, and most of its inhabitants work as subsistence farmers. At La Palma’s request, EWB-Valpo is working toward building a secondary water storage tank and replacing part of the distribution system with new pipes. Out of the more than 220 homes in La Palma, more than twenty do not receive running water. The existing water storage tank, though stable and functioning, overflows at night, wasting valuable water. EWB-Valpo plans on addressing all of these concerns. In addition to these goals, EWB-Valpo is pursuing opportunities in installing a filtration system at the request of the La Palma Water Committee and collecting water quality data.
During their assessment trip in November of 2013, EWB-Valpo worked with La Palma to map the community using GPS technology, take measurements of the existing water storage tank, measure the volume of water that overflows out of the tank, and conduct health surveys. To measure the volume of overflowing water, EWB-Valpo designed and built a Tipping Bucket Meter.
When water filled a bucket on one side of the device, it dumped out, lifting a new bucket to be filled. Each time a bucket tipped it triggered a sensor, tracking the number of tips and consequently the volume of overflowing water. EWB-Valpo will travel again in the Fall of 2014 to take pressure readings at various points along the piping system, scout locations for a secondary storage tank, and communicate with La Palma and the Fundacion Entre Volcanes (the NGO connected to the project) about plans for construction. Meanwhile, EWB-Valpo will continue to develop tank designs, improve a WaterCAD model of the water system, and develop plans for water filtration.
Maesera, Tanzania Irrigation Canal (2008-2012)
EWB-Valpo completed its canal rehabilitation project in the village of Maesera, Moshi Rural District, Tanzania in 2012. The canal was approximately 80 years old and in need of major repair. The damage to the canal had reached a level where it threatened both the agricultural and the domestic water supplies of the village. Five years and three assessment trips later, EWB-Valpo and the villagers were able to repair multiple sections of the canal. In addition, established a system that will help manage the canal in the future. One of the greatest engineering challenges occurred in 2011, when EWB-Valpo installed a concrete structure called a drop box, which minimizes erosion at a 6 foot drop in the canal, and slows the water to avoid erosion further downstream.
After the last trip in June of 2012, both Maesera and EWB-Valpo agreed that the village was equipped to face engineering challenges presented by the canal, and the project was closed after 4 years of hard work. EWB-Valpo was also told that this past season was the first in 10 years that they didn’t have to make an emergency shutdown of the canal for repairs. They were able to grow enough crops to sell to neighboring villages.
EWB-Valpo Kenya Project (2004-2008)
For decades, the community of Nakor, in the Turkana region of Northwestern Kenya, has been severely impacted by drought. Its drinking water supply had been primarily extracted from shallow, open wells and there was no long-term water storage for crop irrigation.
Gene Morden, M.A. in Agriculture, sponsored by Christian Missionary Fellowship International (CMF), brought this project to the attention of EWB-USA in 2003 through Mark Reiner, EWB-USA Director of Civil Resources. The project arose from the missionary work of Gene Morden and his family in this area of Kenya since the mid-1990s. Initially, CMF helped provide food assistance to the villagers.
EWB-Valpo made three visits to this area (2004, 2005 and 2006) installing eleven windmill-powered water systems with the help of the local Turkana villagers. The drip-line irrigation systems feed multiple community gardens which produce 4-5 crops each year and generate bartering material for the local villagers to acquire additional animals (primarily camels and goats and most recently, donkeys) and of other types of food grown elsewhere in the area.
The Morden family requested that EWB-Valpo return to this area in 2008, as the winds had virtually stopped during the daytime for the first time in recorded history, greatly compromising water production for drinking and crop irrigation. Also, several other windmills had become disabled due to broken or missing mechanical parts. EWB-Valpo decided to retro-fit several of the under-functioning units with solar pumps and panels. Additionally, the Chapter constructed a merry-go-round powered system that harnesses the power of children’s play to pump water for garden irrigation.
Follow this link to view EWB-Valpo's video from the Kenya Project