Prior to Global Brigades’ arrival, Buena Vista had a partial, simple gravity system that was constructed in 1987. The water source was a mountain spring located about one kilometer outside of the community that had a flow rate of 25 gallons per minute. The dam was a rough concrete structure with no filter and no proper intake infrastructure. The system used gravity to carry water from the source to two storage tanks within the community. The first tank was too small with a capacity of only 5,000 gallons and it also showed signs of leaking. The second take was even smaller (about 1000 gallons). It was likley that the poor operation of the control valves at both of these tanks was responsible for the many pipe bursts that plagued the water system. The system did not have a distribution network as many of the houses were at a higher elevation than the storage tanks making flow to these house impossible. In order to retrieve water for household use, people, often women and children, would make multiple trips each day to the tanks carrying containers. Furthermore, the water was not chlorinated, leading to high rates of waterborne disease.
The people of Buena Vista were not paying a monthly water fee. There was a ten member Water Council which did not meet regularly. The members of the Water Council were untrained volunteers. Furthermore, due to the lack of a monthly water fee, the Water Council did not employ a plumber to treat the water, maintain, and operate the system. issues with the system were addressed by the Water Council.
Water System Solution
In November 2012, the community of Buena Vista turned on their water system for the first time! Water Brigades began working with the community of Buena Vista in July 2012 to plan, design, and budget the system, ground broke on construction in August. Pump technicians from the BOMOHSA pump company successfully installed the pump in the cistern in Buena Vista on Friday, November 23rd, and trained the Water Council members and community plumbers how to operate the pump control system. The completed water project now carries a sufficient supply of treated water to 131 homes in Buena Vista, impacting over 500 people.
The Water Council of Buena Vista, community plumbers, and community work groups worked tirelessly with Water Brigades staff and with the support of Portland Global Initiatives, PDA Yuscarán, DHL Honduras, Water Brigades Summer Interns, and a group of Medical Brigades volunteers to complete the following:
• Installed a new intake structure at the dam with control and cleaning valves.
• Constructed two pressure break tanks in the conduction line.
• Repaired and painted a 5,000-gallon storage tank as the cistern for the new system’s pump installation site.
• Constructed and painted a 10,000-gallon storage tank with chlorinator for water storage and treatment for distribution to the community.
• Dug approximately 8,250 meters of trench for major pipelines, and an additional 5,500 meters for individual household connections.
• Installed approximately 13,750 meters of PVC piping
• Installed a submergible electric pump that pumps 36 gallons per minute from the 5,000-gallon cistern to the 10,000-gallon storage and treatment tank.
• Connected faucets at 131 houses, 1 kindergarten school, 1 primary school, 1 middle school, and 3 churches.
• Established and trained a 10-member Water Council and identified and trained two community plumbers.
• Established a 14-member Basic Sanitation Committee.
• Established a monthly water fee that each household will pay to the Water Council for treatment and maintenance costs ensuring system sustainability.
• Presented an educational workshop to primary school students regarding the water cycle, watershed protection, water contamination, water and health, and personal hygiene and household sanitation.
Water Project Stages
All stages of this water project have been completed.