Project #6014

Clean Water for over 4,000 people in Honduras

by Engineers Without Borders South Central Florida Chapter

We had a review of our progress and design from the EWB national board. They are yet to review the drawings. The biggest challenge that we are facing currently is funding. The project seems to be very expensive and we are no way near the budget. It will be a challenge to raise the amount of money required for the project. We want to make sure that the community invests into the prooject as much as they possibly can. However, given the scope of the project, the community will require funding from an external source. We are in the process of figuring out a strategy for fundraising. Since Peace Corps is not in Honduras anymore, we are also looking for another NGO in El Negrito, so that we have an apolitical liasion on the site.

Our team has finished the pipeline design and is ready to submit to EWB USA for a review of the design work. 

To recapitulate, there are five water supply sources within El Negrito, which are listed below. The numbers in parentheses represent the approximate number of houses served by each water source:

 1.   Pico Pijol (620)

2.   La Tutumba / Pate (350)

3.   Santa Elena (200 for Santa Elena and Pita)

4.   Pita (see above)

5.   El Dorado (150)

Each source delivers water to a tank, which then has a distribution system serving various houses in El Negrito. Each household has an average of 7 residents. The Pijol line, constructed in 1994, serves 4 communities (Barrio Abajo, Barrio Arriba, Barrio Meseta, and Barrio Centro) comprising about 4000 of the town’s 10000 residents. It was constructed using PVC pipe for most of the route and a surface run galvanized iron pipe for the section near the source intake in the Pijol Mountains. The pipeline is approximately 15-20 km long and ends in a 41,000 gallon tank. Currently the tank is undersized for the water it receives from the pipeline, and regularly overflows. The pipeline leaks in various places along its route leading to a loss in flow. It was reported that the tank does not have an adequate amount of water to serve  the residents. The water received by residents is reported to be polluted as well. 

The Pico Pijol source is located southeast of the town of El Negrito. This site is currently the most reliable water source for the population of El Negrito. The pipeline that conveys water to the Town is divided into different reaches 

The intake component of the project is located high in the hills above the town of El Negrito. The route of the water supply pipeline traverses very rugged and wooded terrain before entering the town. The 3km pipeline, now forming the scope of the project, is located at the highest reaches of the project and the construction physical constraints are defined by the parameters as noted.

These constraints and pipeline size dictate that construction of a roadway as a materials supply route is not economically feasible. As discussed in the pre assessment trip, the fontaneros (maintenance helpers), very familiar with the terrain, would be prime leaders in the construction, supervising laborers taken from the township. All materials, pipe, valves, and imported fill would be taken as far as vehicles can go, wherefrom they would be carried to the installation locations by hand or domestic animals. Excavation, pipe laying, filling and backfill will be undertaken by local laborers.

EWB/SCFL recommends that the construction begin at the commencement of the dry season to gain as much non rainy hours per day. Hand construction is very slow. There is a high unemployment rate in that township. Given these two factors, EWB/SCFL would suggest that at least two crews work at opposite ends of the line, and towards each other should be employed. This means however that the route location should be carefully marked before hand and carefully monitored as work progresses.

Given this scenario, it is expected that construction should be about 40 meters per day therefore having a schedule of seventy-five (75) working days.

EWB/SCFL will visit the site two times during the construction which will be coordinated with the Mayor.

The material chosen for this project i.e. PVC pipe was specifically selected due to the ease of availability and the fact that no maintenance is needed for the below-ground portion. The fontaneros will be properly trained during the installation of the system so that they can perform maintenance, if needed, on the portion of the system that is aboveground.

The proposed system is similar to the existing water supply system which the fontaneros are intimately familiar with.

Currently the team estimates the cost of the material of construction to be around $76,000.

Based on the first field assessment trip to El Negrito, it is concluded that the EWB Central-South Florida Chapter has the technical resources to provide technical support to deliver a sustainable solution to increase the capacity of the raw water line. Increasing the storage capacity from 41,000 gallons to 150,000 gallons requires more information from the mayor (e.g. confirmation of new tank location, land availability and topographical survey). The EWB SCFL Chapter may be able to support in the following areas:

  1. Providing technical support to design the needed upgrade of the pipeline and ground storage tank (150,000 gallons)
  2. Preparation and development of a water Master Plan for El Negrito

The EWB SCFL Chapter considers it feasible to continue with the El Negrito project. Further discussions with the Mayor need to take place in order to define and agree on the scope of work for the EWB SCFL Chapter. A conference call between the Mayor and the team should be scheduled in early February 2011 to discuss and agree on the scope of EWB’s services. 

El Negrito-Honduras-Global Giving –Update June 26, 2012 (rev 1) 

In April, 2012, EWB/SCFL and EWB/USA discussed the submittal of the final design, the changed scope of the project, issues with NGO and security. The interchange of information was very positive and the way forward was very clear.

On our assessment trip to El Negrito, the assessment team included EWB/SCFL, the mayor of El Negrito and personnel from the municipality. Field trips and subsequent discussions undertaken by the team  concluded that of the five water supply systems currently in place only one, the Pijol system had sustainability potential. Preliminary calculations on the supply capacity and a study of the population growth were carried out. The team unanimously agreed that the Pijol system with its twenty two  kilometers of pipeline should be upgraded and with the addition of a 250,000 gallon water storage tank should be the target for development.

In support of the design, the mayor was asked to undertake the route survey of the pipeline and the plot plan of the 250,000 gallon tank site. A complete report of this assessment trip was submitted to EWB/USA in October 2010.

Since the assessment trip we have had several discussions with the mayor and met with him on his visit to Miami.
The current situation is that, commencing at source, only three kilometers of pipeline was surveyed. The tank site has not been acquired nor surveyed.
The final design is based on the noted three kilometers. It was noted that this reduced scope will be beneficial to the near needs of the El Negrito population. Eventually, as there is significant rise in the population, the system will need to be re evaluated.
EWB/USA accepted the explanation and suggested that we should submit the design in conformity with the provisions of their forms 524 and 525.

Currently, we are completing form 524.  It requires remodeling the information we already have and should be finalized by mid July.  At that time EWB/SCFL will review the content and make the final design submittal to EWB/USA.

Form 525 essentially outlines a preconstruction trip to El Negrito. It is being reviewed.

EWB/USA  and EWB/SCFL discussed the reported security issues in Honduras and as a consequence the withdrawal of NGOs.

EWB/USA urged us to seek a new supporting NGO in Honduras and be very mindful of the security issues.  

Robert Williams

Currently, the Peace Corps team has been pulled out of Homduras because of political instability in Honduras. We are still going on with the project. We have almost reached the completion of pipeline design. next we will be forming a new point of contact in Honduras, to support the communicaions between teh local government and the our EWB team here in United States. Once our design is complete, which will be very soon, and we form a new point of contact, we will discuss with the Honduran team and figure out how to secure the funding for construction.

Thanks for your support so far!

Design work continues on the project.
There has been several conference calls between Team members over the past several weeks.

We hope to finalize all outstanding design issues  at a face to face meeting  on January 11.

Issues still remain with finding an engineer to design that 200,000 gallon water tank.


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Organization Information

Engineers Without Borders South Central Florida Chapter

Location: Boulder, Colorado - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Engineers Without Borders South Central Florida Chapter
Project Leader:
Robert Williams
North Miami Beach, FL United States

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