Water 2 Ecuador is a project focused on providing clean water to rural communities in Ecuador through the design of an elevated water storage reservoir and distribution system. The team of Calvin College senior engineering students is working with HCJB Global, a mission organization dedicated to providing clean water and health care to the people of Ecuador. The design will meet the specific needs of two communities in southeast Ecuador, Iniayua and Washintsa, but will be adaptable for any village setting throughout Ecuador.
During January 2012, team Water 2 Ecuador had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador and meet with HCJB engineers Alfredo Leon, Alex Leon, and Bruce Rydbeck. The team also used the trip to collect essential data from both the Iniayua and Washintsa site. The team left from Detroit, Michigan on January 21st and returned on the States January 31. The team spent five days collecting data from the two villages located in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador. The trip was able to provide the team with valuable information to help facilitate design work on the water systems. Furthermore, the team was able to refine their objectives and gain a clearer understanding of the context of the project. The team was able to tackle the problems that faced the water distribution system in person; this will lead to improved future designs and a more self-sustainable system for the villages.
The first two days involved meeting with Alex and Alfredo Leon, the team’s HCJB contacts in Shell, Ecuador. The team presented preliminary design plans and discussed the feasibility as well any shortcomings or modifications that the current design required. The team then flew to the first village of Iniayua, which currently has a dilapidated water tower and insufficient water supply.
The team analyzed the water distribution network in Iniayua. Data was collected from both the solar panel and pumping systems. Using a multimeter, the team measured the voltage and current flow for the duration of our stay in Iniyua. The team concluded that the spring produced an ample amount of water and that the pump was operating efficiently and the water shortages were a result of inadequate water tower storage volume. The new design is estimated to have a capacity of 3300 liters, tripling the current reservoir capacity.
The next community that the team flew to was Washintsa, a community the currently lacks a water distribution system. After undertaking a studying of the water source, conducting a geographic survey, and collecting topographic date of the village and considering other viable options; the team determined the best location for the tower and the solar powered Grunfos pump. The team was able to take these measurements with the help of HCJB’s total station and GPS units. The team hiked to Santa Rosa, a nearby village, to determine whether Washintsa’s water system could utilize the neighboring water source; however this option was decided against after a cost analysis was studied.
The team visited Shell a second time, before heading back to the Detroit, and discussed further design options, restrictions, and costs with HCJB engineers. The team resolved a few issues and is designing the systems accordingly. The complete system would include the tower, solar panels and pump, and the piping network to each house. Further design work is in progress and is projected to be complete by April 19th, 2012.