EWB Indianapolis is partnered with Trine University’s EWB Student Chapter to expand clean water access in a small, remote community in Ecuador. Comuna Guangaje is located at approximately 11,000’ elevation and about 3 hours southwest of Quito and is inhabited by indigenous people who continue to use the ancient Incan Quechua language. Weather conditions make for a brief and spotty rainy season in an otherwise arid, windswept landscape.
The mountains, however, present natural spring outputs that EWB is working aggressively to better harvest for increased clean water supply. Uniquely, the community was served some years ago by an international aid organization that implemented a community-wide network of water distribution pipes that are gravity-fed from large storage tanks. Unfortunately, the output of various springs into storage tanks was not sufficiently addressed, leaving the community in a significant water deficit most of the year.
2021 is the Indianapolis-Trine partnership’s fourth year of engagement in Comuna Guangaje, initially assessing the community need in 2017. All-season water sources were validated and one key unused source was improved over 2018-19. Improvements were made to two existing spring-to-water tank channels in 2020. While successful, they did not result in significant enough change to the community’s water supply. A 2022 trip is being planned to address two additional sources that we estimate will produce enough water to meet the community’s needs. This trip will involve the design and construction of two spring boxes, implementation of a submersible electric water pump and secure housing, and a kilometer-plus pipeline to two existing storage tanks plus community training for system operation and sustainment. The trip is being planned for May, with actual travel governed by when international travel can resume between the US and Ecuador.
EWB-USA is in the process of establishing a country presence in Ecuador. This is in partnership with Engineers In Action (EIA), a sister international engineering organization well-established in South America, to facilitate a growing number of community projects there. Our chapters have a strong relationship with EIA that began in 2017.
Our implementation trips are typically a week in length (weekend to weekend) with the first day acclimatizing in Quito and the final day touring Quilatoa, an extinct volcano and national park near the community, on the return trip to Quito. We welcome new members to be part of the design and implementation processes. If interested, please contact us.
Various documents related to this program are at the links below: