Helping Rural Communities in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala with Low Cost Sources of Clean Drinking Water
Teg, A., F. R. Walker, J. Schwartz, and N. S. Eash.  2009.  Proceedings of 19th Ann. Tenn. Water Res. Symp., April 15 to 17, 2009.

The Engineers Without Borders student chapter at the University of Tennessee (UT) has partnered with disadvantaged communities in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to implement sustainable water supply projects. In March 2006, five students and one faculty member conducted an assessment trip to the village of Los Cerros near the Haiti border in the Dominican Republic. Hand pumps were being used on two wells, but were not working on three other wells. The two operative pumps would nearly dry during droughts. A topographical survey of the village identified locations to construct water storage tanks. In May 2006, the government drilled new, deeper boreholes. A grant provided funds to install an electric pump in a new well, construct two new water storage tanks, and supply pipelines. In December 2006, another team from UT successfully constructed a new water system with the help of the people of Los Cerros. In May 2007, ten students and three faculty members traveled to Guatemala to construct three prototype rainwater storage tanks in the village of La Fortuna, in western Guatemala. These systems collected rainwater from the roofs of the villager's homes during the rain season (May to October), and provide clean, safe water for each household during the dry season (November to April). A follow-up visit was conducted in March 2008. Water tests showed that the water was still clean (no detectable E. coli) compared with a nearby well (> 106 cfu E. coli per 100 ml). A follow-up trip is planned for May 2009.