In a rural and impoverished Nicaraguan community, 200 young students are without the privilege of a reliable elementary education. Unsafe and unsanitary conditions caused by rainfall and flooding force them to frequently miss school, when they need to be learning fundamentals such as reading, writing, and basic math. EWB-PSU will manage this flooding with a long-term and low-maintenance stormwater infiltration system that is enthusiastically supported by the community members.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Dulce Nombre elementary school is located in the rural community of Dulce Nombre, Nicaragua. It is the only school in the area for over 200 kindergarden through 5th grade children. Several years ago the government paved the main road that runs through the community, but due to a design oversight the road now diverts stormwater straight into the low-lying school. The children miss several valuable weeks of school every winter as their classroom becomes flooded and unsanitary.
How will this project solve this problem?
The primary reason for the water pooling in the school is the area's slow-infiltrating soil. EWB-PSU's design, based on a technique often implemented in Portland, OR, will allow water to absorb quickly into the ground by increasing underground water storage space. The design involves digging a large pit in the school's playground, lining it with fabric, and filling it with porous gravel. The pit will be covered with the original soil so that the final result will not remove any playground area.
Potential Long Term Impact
Based on hydrological models of the area, the proposed design will eliminate classroom flooding for all but the most extreme and rare rain events. The 200+ children and 1000 members of the community will no longer have cancelled classes or a sub-standard school. The system is not only sustainable, long-lasting, and low-maintenance, but can easily by understood and implemented by community members. By helping implement it, members will learn how to apply this method in other flooding areas.
This project has been retired and is no longer accepting donations.