EOS Supports WWIF Mission in Nicaragua, Benefits Thousands
By Wishing Well International Foundation
EOS International received $9,300 (USD) in funding from the Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF) in October 2019 to increase the number (and health) of people with access to safe drinking water by installing community inline water treatment systems in 10 new rural communities and reaching 6,587 people. Along with providing community water quality and testing services to new and existing rural community water systems, ensuring access to safe drinking water on a continual basis, funding from WWIF focused on expansion of the water chlorinator in rural villages of Honduras and Nicaragua.
Grant funding enhanced water security in 10 communities
Water quality was tested in all 10 communities; it was found that nine of the 10 tested positive for bacteria. The EOS team used the Pathscreen bacterial test method. An EOS technician visited all of the communities to meet with the community water board members to test the water source and organize a date for the installation. The installation took place, incorporating all community water board members. Upon completion of the installation, in-depth training was provided for the operation of the water chlorinator, as well as general aspects of managing a community water system, including these key aspects:
• Cleaning the tank with granulated chlorine every 15 days
• Measuring the chlorine dosing every day for the first week, then weekly
• Measuring the water flowrate using a five-gallon (18-9-liter) bucket and stopwatch method
• Recording data monthly to document and understand seasonal changes
• Monitoring chlorinator for the presence of chlorine tablets; always keeping it stocked with a minimum of one tablet
• Guidelines for establishing a proper water bill for users
• In-depth training required to budget and set a new usage bill
• How to maintain water pipe breaks
• Hygiene education
• Who oversees public health initiatives and who to contact from EOS
In Figure 1, EOS Water Technician, Elias Mejia, captures a photo of the water board members from the community of Higuitos, Santiago de Puringla, La Paz, Honduras. The concrete structure located on top of the tank protects the water chlorinator from outside elements. Figure 2 shows the chlorinator located inside the cement structure. Half-inch pipes on the entrance and exit of the chlorinator direct a portion of the water over the chlorine tablet, allowing a concentrated chlorine dose to enter the tank. EOS technicians train community leaders to calibrate the chlorinator weekly and provide a test kit with reagents to measure the free chlorine in the drinking-water source. This water system now provides safe drinking water to over 1,080 people, or 130 households.
The water source for this community is located in a nearby mountain stream.
In Figure 3, the contaminated water flows in on the right side of the photo and a portion of water is diverted through the chlorinator to release the appropriate amount of chlorine. The water mixes in the large cement tank, killing all of the bacteria and leaving residual chlorine to continue providing protection in the distribution lines, all the way into the home.
In Figure 4, EOS technicians are working with Gualazara water board members to measure the flowrate of the water. Since the water source comes from a natural stream, water levels can fluctuate. EOS has trained community members to measure their flowrate using a stopwatch and five-gallon bucket. Through the course of three trials, the community averages the time it takes to fill the bucket to calculate the flowrate. These practical tools require limited resources, but provide critical information for the community to operate their water system. Images of the water chlorinator installation in the community of Lomas, Santiago de Puringla, La Paz, Honduras—benefiting 336 people—provide insight into the process and training.
Figure 5 shows how EOS technicians commonly have had to work with existing conditions to implement treatment solutions. Pictured on the left, the technician connected the water source to the chlorinator right outside of the main tank access, which will allow community members to still enter the tank for regular bi-weekly cleaning and maintenance. The community leaders will build a concrete structure to protect the chlorinator. In Figure 6, community water board members take photos and record the EOS technician training for future reference. The EOS technician includes all of the water board in the installation process and spends over two hours training the group on the operations of the water chlorinator and water system as a whole.
Through our thorough training and community visits, we have been able to maintain over 80 percent of our water systems and chlorinators operating on average each month.
The water chlorinator installed in the community of Orobila, Santiago de Puringla, La Paz, Honduras, serving 120 families, is also shown.
Figure 7 shows how over 90 percent of the rural water systems that EOS works with have a gravity-fed water source. The flowrate and water pressure vary depending on rainfall and the season. To accommodate this fluctuation, EOS technicians have designed a simple back-flow pressure system, where the water is piped up for a small section before it dumps into the tank.
This creates continual pressure to direct a small portion of water into the chlorinator and over the chlorine tablet. Figure 8 shows the installation in progress, connecting the water source pipe to the chlorinator located inside the blue concrete structure behind.