The Village in the Clouds: Bringing Water to El Carrizalito

Abstract

El Carrizalito is a community in rural Honduras with limited access to clean water. Known as ñThe Village in the Cloudsî the people must hike down a mountain to their water source everyday and carry enough water back to their homes for their families. Since 2010, the Northeastern University student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-NEU) has worked alongside the villagers to make clean water more accessible in their community. To date, the team has conducted health surveys, hosted village meetings, tested for water quality and capacity, surveyed the land, conducted site visits with a hydrogeologist and electrical engineers, and performed an alternative analysis evaluating potential water system designs. Each alternative was evaluated on the following criteria: social acceptance, constructability, effectiveness of design, annual cost of operation and maintenance, durability and resilience, and capital cost. After evaluation, the team selected a four-phase design that involves extending electricity to the water source, installing a water pump at the source and pumping the water up to the homes in the village. In April 2013, EWB-NEU will travel to Honduras to launch Phase I of the project, which includes installation of utility poles for the new electrical line. æTo ensure project sustainability, the villagers have been actively involved in assisting with the design selection, creating an elected Water Board, and establishing their ability to pay for system operation and maintenance. By making clean water more accessible to the community, EWB-NEU aims to increase the quality of life in El Carrizalito.