Community Aqueduct

  • Water & Sanitation
  • Panama
This project is led by Elena Navas, a Volunteer from Illinois

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The project will consist of constructing a new gravity-fed aqueduct, including the construction of a low-profile spring-catchment box, rehabilitation of an existing water storage tank, addition of a chlorinator, and the installation of twenty-nine faucets for houses, two for churches, and one for a kindergarten school. The community members have shown significant interest and motivation to work together as a group and with the volunteer in order to obtain water access at their homes. They have already made noticeable progress in the way of organization and attitude by attending meetings, electing a new Water Committee, and choosing to set personal prejudice aside to foster a cooperative working environment. Without access to clean water at home, the community members must spend a significant amount of time carrying water from springs and streams for use at home. Many of the people do not practice water treatment methods nor hygiene practices at home, leading to a frequent state of poor health. The construction of this aqueduct can help improve the overall health of the community by providing the people with easy access to clean, treated drinking water and enable future behavior change to improve hygiene habits. The project will also provide an opportunity for the water committee and beneficiaries to receive training and practice important organizational skills, as well as learn about aqueduct maintenance. By implementing this infrastructure project, the community will have advanced, if not achieved, the three main objectives of the Peace Corps Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program.

The community sought out the volunteer to propose the project, and had already consulted with nearby landowners in order to find the spring source for the aqueduct before beginning to work with the volunteer. During the study and planning phase, all the beneficiaries have been consistently participating at meetings and have been involved in measuring the spring source flow rates, surveying the future pipeline, and making design decisions. The community also took initiative to meet with the local conflict mediator in order to obtain official recognition for the use of the existing water storage tank when they were facing problems with the landowner of where the tank is located. The community is committed to maintaining the aqueduct once the construction is complete, and will maintain a water committee fund for this purpose by charging a monthly fee from each beneficiary for use of the water. If in the future the system needs to be expanded and additional funds are necessary, the beneficiaries will plan fundraising activities in order to attain their goals for system improvements. The current water committee and first system operator are also responsible for training their subsequent committee members and operators when they are elected. To fully take advantage of the training they receive, community members should also continuously teach their future generations to value and conserve water, and pass on all that they learn in training from the volunteer during the implementation of the project.

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