Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pasmata Water Project – Progress report for 9/25/2011

This week went very well, of course, not as I had planned in my overly anal and naively built Gantt chart. Keeping with the theme of the past posts, let’s get started with some rigid engineer mind explosion.

Accomplished Project Tasks:

From last time (I only had this compiled in email form, so I’ll just paste it in here all nimbly-bimbly)

Prepared a survey for Pasmata to obtain basic census information along with information and opinions concerning this upcoming water project as well as a portion evaluating willingness to pay both on the initial construction front, as well as for a monthly payment – Conducting this survey went quite well. To summarize the survey process a bit better, the questions went as follows:

  • Who lives in your house: education, age…etc.
  • What kinds of infrastructural items to you have: electricity, water, toilet (with a way of rating their toilet on a good to bad scale for odor, cleanliness, and flies to allow for statistical coding-yep this is what my life has come to).
  • An introduction stating that this project is hopefully going to be happening, but only with the contribution of $8 from each family, and $2 per month to pay for maintenance and all that’s entailed with it. Each person was informed why these rates were as they were.
  • question about their feelings of the use of meters, and how they would feel having the cost of water based on quantity instead of a flat rate. We prefaced that this was likely to be requisite, Travis and I both agree that knowing how much water is being used is going to be highly important for reasons of: understanding system demand, household use (overuse?)…to name a couple. Didn’t know quite how to tell them that our goal would be to someday have the meters monitored over the internet. This explanation might have to wait until we get the pilot set up J
  • A closing statement saying that you for your time, we’re going to have a community wide meeting explaining in detail what is demanded of the community (time, money, labor), set for when Travis get’s here so we can have some more firepower.

In total we had 165 surveys to do. The surveys were divvied up between the water board, President Don Chico took 75 surveys, Julia, a guy named Miguel and Sulema took the rest. I was under the impression that everyone had somewhat of an idea about what a survey was about, seeing as I showed them the activity and role of a surveyor and an interviewee J.

These surveys did go relatively well,

considering that the majority of the folks (unbenownced to me) who were going to give these surveys (the water board of Pasmata, and a few random folks that showed up to meetings) either couldn’t grasp the premise of the surveys, didn’t agree themselves with what the questions were saying and ergo entered in their own biases while presenting the questions, or simply couldn’t read and write. I decided I would go out with a few folks to see how they were giving the surveys. Sulema, the woman I worked with first had eye problems so she had me read the questions and she continually gave her own opinions to the interviewee while I tried to explain that they were supposed to listen while the interviewee talked. Sulema spent nearly one whole survey explaining to me in front of a woman interviewee that people in Pasmata are poor and what that should mean to folks doing a water project. So, not exactly the professional façade we were likely hoping for. However, nearly all 165 surveys have been conducted (albeit by a group of random people, handed the surveys and told to do the work by the water board). A positive takeaway, the people know about the project and are ready for a meeting.

Fecal coliform tests done at the new source by MINSA – This went even better than we had planned. On a whim, I was called by Reyna instructing me that I had to be at the ENECAL office in 2 minutes. I got there in 3, and waited for 1hr. I love this place. ENECAL apparently had an opening in their busy lab schedule to accommodate our complete request for water quality tests. I was driven to Pasmata, and we made the trek up to the location of the new source. Two nutrient samples were taken and one bacteriological test was taken at the source. I managed to find the perfect location for the dam, solid rock walls about 3 meters wide (see picture below). This is at 830meters, the tank is at going to be at 740 meters.

The fact that we got these tests taken before the first of October was nothing short of a miracle. We hope to have the results by Thursday, I will include these in the next blog

Walk the tube line with a local pipe guru: We decided to wait for the response from the Finca de Pasmata. We heard back yesterday, after having called the representative for the farm (Miguel), that the Finca de Pasmata owner was going to be discussing the letter Karla wrote concerning using the source above Las Piedras (right above the water fall about .9km upstream). So we should be hearing back from them by Wednesday of this upcoming week . Exactly 1 week late. Not bad.

Land owners: We have yet to get signed documents from Dona Comila, Maria, Folia. However, we did hear from Dona Maria saying that we could use her land free of charge for the tank location. She was originally demanding $150, but then she decided to donate, not sure why but we are grateful!

Somoto Rotary: Ivonne confirmed today to meet with the water board, myself, and Jessie in Somoto on Tuesday evening of next week. I will be speaking with Travis to see what is needed from the Somoto club to get the ball rolling. We will also be presenting the scope of the project with Ivonne and the Somoto club.

Alcalde y alcaldia: Karla and I had a meeting with Orlando on Monday to solicit his presence at the upcoming community meeting (during the time that Travis is here) October 9th. We are going to try to get him to commit to the $2000 that he has promised for the domestic lines at this community meeting. Just a bit of pressure from the community J. We’ll see how this goes. He certainly isn’t going to have any money to give until the first of the year, but that should be just in time for the domestic lines, shown in the Gantt chart, as being installed in January. I will do a back flip if any of the promises he’s giving actually take place.

Champigny System not working well: I walked the Champigny system to get another successful system design in my head. The system, which was constructed in 2001, is still working pretty good, with the exception of some plugged air release valves (common to both this system and the Nueva Esperanza system). The main problem with this system was there is something plugging up and slowing down water flow in the distribution line (after the tank). This was evident both by the overfilled 16k gallon tank, and the people in the community complaining that there isn’t any water. The people of the community think the reason they don’t have water is due to an increase in demand. Their fontenero (maintainance guy) doesn’t seem to know what’s going on, and how to fix the problem, mentioning that the system needs to be expanded and a new tank installed. After looking through some if-then troubleshooting diagrams in my engineering for developing communities book, I have deduced what I already thought, that the distribution line is either too small (not the case, 2” is actually overkill if you ask me), or is blocked. Blocked is the likely culprit, and since new households have been installed rather ad hoc, I would imagine that more sediment/junk could be entering the system.

I will explain the situation to the Champigny water board when we have a meeting, one is planned for the following week to discuss how their construction teams were run, and any lessons learned. I will also be discussing this with Gregg since he likely knows the most about this project. Looking after systems like this one and making sure that everything is running properly will be a great job for the upcoming FCP rep. I will be keeping a log of work that he/she can do so that his/her time is used effectively. Should be quite a lot of fun having a hand in so many projects.

Gantt chart: Emailed to the board to show where this week’s work has put us in the grand scope of things.

New project on the horizon -- I met with a man named Don Enrique from Trapiche. He and his water board have created an impressive document both in Spanish and in English outlining an expansion proposal of their current system to meet the demands of a neighboring community of 80 households that is developing close by. The community is filled with rockstars who have been very active in expanding and up keeping their water system funded in part by ISLA (Minnesota) in 1983. The system is still running. They are of course lacking funding, but I believe this project could potentially be a great one to piggy back the hopefully successful project in Pasmata.

My main fear is that they are trying to use donor money to get in place a project that will in tern allow them to charge the development company that has bought the land (solares) for the new neighboring community named Monte Verde. The only reason the community hasn’t been built yet is the lacking water system, and from the looks of things, they have been waiting for some time. The fact that there is corruption in the air is pretty comforting these days, as it’s something I’m getting used to dealing with and assuming it’s presence.

Pending Project Tasks:

Somoto meeting-- Getting ready for this meeting. I will be discussing this with Travis who is running the show states side.

Water System Designs – The first string of designs should be done and sent out to Greg et al (I will just take photos of the pages in my calc book, and send the excel spreadsheet and CAAD drawings) by the end of next week. We are hopefully walking the line as well on Saturday, which would give exact elevations, albeit we pretty much already have them having walked the general line area 3 times (mailman calves).

Permitting – During the walk, we hope to get signed the letters that Karla has written, by the 3 finca owners. We will also be waiting with baited breath for the go ahead from the Finca of Pasmata. If there are any issues with them donating the land, this project will likely screech to a sickening halt. Be thinking of us on Wednesday!

Line location cleaned and flagged—this would be nice as well.

Thanks for reading guys, I hope you’re doing well, and I look forward to posting again next week! Things keep on keeping on!

Jeff and Jessie

1 comment:

Tim said...

Do you need to submit an enviromental impact statement for daming the water source? Oops, forgot you aren't in the US.