Clean Water for Bolivian Mountain Villagers

Last October, civil engineer Kaleena Menke traveled to Bolivia with Engineers Without Borders as a part of an effort to provide access to clean drinking water for Komucala, a remote village in the mountains about 110 miles north of La Paz.

Komucala’s residents are scattered along the side of a mountain and must walk hundreds of yards over mountainous terrain to various natural springs for clean water. Kaleena’s group took flow-rate measurements and tested the water quality of several springs. With the community's help, three springs with adequate flow were chosen to be used as drinking water sources. 

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Spring boxes will be constructed at each water source to collect the water and a fence will be installed around each spring box to protect the water supply from contamination by livestock. Gravity-fed PVC pipes will then be installed to a centrally located spigot within each housing area.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) engages the community, and requires significant involvement by the residents in order to ensure EWB’s efforts are maintained. Each community assisted by EWB is responsible for 5% of the project’s initial funding and 100% of the future operational and maintenance costs.

To fund this project, the St. Louis Gateway Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders hosted a trivia night in March. Proceeds from the event will be sent to their liaison in Bolivia, who will purchase the supplies needed to pipe clean drinking water to 150 people, and to help fund the travel costs of the engineers who will oversee the installation of the project.

For more information about Engineers Without Borders click here.
To read Kaleena’s blog click here

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