: Agua Para la Vida (APLV)

Discussion Forum

Hurricane Comment

By Agua Para La Salud (APLS) Posted on Thu 05 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

I fully agree with Charlies assessment of the use of gravity fed water systems as a long term solution to water supply if springs are available. Most alternatives such as rain water storage are only good for seasonal solutions because of the 4-6 month dry season and the impracticality of storing huge amounts of water for the dry season which very often become badly contaminated by the end of the season. The costs noted are in line with our experience in Guatemala for quality gravity fed water systems and are about 1/3rd to 1/4th the costs often quoted by large international NGO's and government offices.

Re: Hurricane Comment

By Peer Water Exchange Posted on Thu 05 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Well, this is certainly educational for me, both from a technical aspect and from the financial aspect. We all know intuitively that going to the source (for example to buy handicrafts) is better than going to a fashion retailer.

The funding side often finds it hard to seek and trust the people on the ground. So they go with the establishment which often means a 3X or a 4X markup that you mention.

So the intuition behind PWX was that if we could find and use the people in the field to become a collaborative, learning, and self-monitoring network, we could send money directly to the field and fund 3X or 4X more projects. If PWX succeeds, we can at the very least double our speed of doing projects and make a greater headway into the world's water crisis.

Looking forward to working with you all; let me know how to serve you all better.

Rajesh

Sharing your work

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Sat 28 Feb 2009, almost 14 years ago

Having known APLV for several years and knowing their work closely (since i am very close to El Porvenir), i only wonder why it took so long for them to get into PWX!

Having just returned from a trip to Orissa visiting Gram Vikas. Visited several of their projects in tribal areas which involve spring capture and gravity flow. After reading the APLV brochure, i invited GV to review this application, mainly to connect two great organizations using extremely similar approach and technology (this applies to a subset of GV projects).

The review process is also a way to learn about each other, not just to decide who becomes a member.

Regards,
Rajesh

Sharing your work

By Agua Para la Vida (APLV) Posted on Sun 01 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

We look forward to learning more about Gram Vikas and other PWX organizations.

cheers,
charlie

Sharing your work

By Gram Vikas Posted on Mon 02 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Gram Vikas since its inception, 1979, has been working for the poor and marginalised communities, to bring about sustainable improvement in their quality of life-mostly in Orissa. The mission of Gram Vikas is realised through MANTRA-Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas. MANTRA is an integrated habitat development programme guided by the belief that all people deserve to live in peace with dignity. The core values of MANTRA are: inclusion,social equity,gender equity,sustainability and cost sharing.
Taking Water and sanitation as an entry point activity Gram Vikas unites communities to overcome barriers of social exclusion. Water and sanitation is not only a vehicle for improved health, but also a way of transforming hierarchical caste and gender based exclusion into equitable inclusion.
To view details visit the website www.gramvikas.org
Thanks
sambit

Lynn Roberts Agua Para La Salud review of APLV

By Agua Para La Salud (APLS) Posted on Sun 01 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Dear Charlie,
I am engaged in a similar project in Guatemala since 1994. I was very interested in your PPT about your project and the similarities to our projects. Would you be able to submit for review an example of the hydraulic field study;calculations for a recent project ;and the material list?

Lynn Roberts Agua Para La Salud review of APLV

By Agua Para la Vida (APLV) Posted on Thu 05 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Lynn- happy to do so and will get some material together to submit. fo our hydraulic analysis, we use 2 tools that we have developed based on work that Gilles has done in creating optimized design methods for gravity systems. One, "Air in Pipes", handles the design of the conduction line from the spring to the tank and the other, "NeatWork", handles distribution from the tank to the facets. there is information on both tools on our website at http://aplv.org/en/technical_resources.

charlie

Lynn Roberts Agua Para La Salud review of APLV

By Agua Para la Vida (APLV) Posted on Fri 13 Mar 2009, over 13 years ago

Dear Lynn:

The standard procedure in the design of our gravity flow drinking water system makes use of two Agua Para La Vida tools. These can be downloaded directly from our web site www.aplv.org .

The first , called air in pipes ( available in Spanish and English) is a design program for the conduction line from the spring to the holding tank. It is a visual basic program that requires as an input the detailed topographic profile of the chosen conduction trench line, and the maximum and minimum (if any) flow rate thru that line. The program automatically chooses the sequence of pipe diameters and thicknesses as well as the location of the minimum number of automatic air relief valves, taking into account maximum local pressure, enforcing a positive pressure, and eliminating the possibility of air pockets when the spring output is less than the capacity of the line.. A manual explaining the hydraulics behind the program can also be downloaded from our Web site. .

The second , called Neatwork (in Englsh, Spanish and Fench) is a program for the design of gravity distribution networks (from the tank to the water stands) is composed of two programs:

The first minimizes the pipe cost subject to a certain number of constraints at the operator’s disposal and postulating a statistical ensemble of simultaneously opened faucets. The second is a rapid simulator that yields the flow rates of each water stand under a large number of separate realizations of that ensemble. The results allow the operator to retouch his design if one or a few faucets show unsatisfactory flow too often

A 64 pages also multilingual use manual can also be downloaded from the site..

These two programs are used routinely by our technicians.

To answer a number of questions of interest to our fund providers we have created a model project called Bienvenida which I am posting. I am also posting, following your request a list of material (selected by the two programs mentioned above) and an program carried out for two different projects. The pipes we use currently are PVC but both programs can be modified for polyethylene pipes as well.

Cordially yours

Gilles Corcos, technical director, APLV

Costs and hurricane impacts

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Thu 05 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

This question comes from a funder|fundraiser who historically has used costs such as $25 or $30 will bring safe drinking water to one person for life. And one who realizes that while it is a great fundraising slogan, it is not fair to people who work in remote regions and in areas where costs are high. BPR has consciously tried to use averages and support such projects.

Q: Have ideas like dugwells with groundwater recharge thru rainwater harvesting been tried out?

Secondly, i recall that Hurricane Mitch wreaked havoc on many APLV projects. Since you work on the eastern side, you must see annual impact on your projects. What do you see and how do you brace/allow for such impacts?

Thanks,
Rajesh

Costs and hurricane impacts

By Agua Para la Vida (APLV) Posted on Thu 05 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

On costs: we are quite proud of the low cost of our projects, and of course its important to consider many issues when comparing costs. our projects historically are near $600/family, which is between $75-$100 per person. this cost includes the water system, a latrine, our health and hygiene education program, and our watershed conservation program.

Its true that hand-dug wells are much less expensive than the gravity flow project we do. wells are an certainly an appropriate solution in many cases and there are many examples of successful well projects in Nicaragua. we work closely with our colleagues at El Porvenir, who carry out dozens of hand-dug well projects a year.

In spite of their higher initial costs, gravity flow systems offer some significant advantages over wells.

First, water quality is easier to maintain. Protecting hand-dug wells from surface water contamination is difficult. We design our systems for 25-years of operation - i can't imagine a hand-dug well lasting anywhere near that and maintaining water quality. Gravity flow systems provide better access to water. By bring water closer to its end use point, the likelihood of contamination during transportation and storage is reduced. Also, by bringing water closer to people, people tend to use more water. Numerous studies have shown that health is closely linked with the amount of water available as well as the quality of the water.

So... yes, wells are a good, and in many cases the only, solution. Gravity flow systems offer some advantages and in terms of life cycle costs and benefits are, in my opinion, a bargain.

Hurricanes do cause significant damage in Nicaragua. In general, APLV projects have fared well, though we did have projects damaged from Mitch including one community where the damage was catastrophic. We raised funds and rebuilt that project the following year and fixed the other problems in other projects as well. One of the things we are proud of is the long-term contacts we maintain with our projects - we have one tecnico dedicated to that effort.

Much of the damage caused by hurricanes is a direct result of poor land management. This is one of the main reasons we include watershed conservation efforts in all of our projects. Deforestation not only destabilizes local terrain, making it more susceptible to slides, it also reduces its ability to hold water to recharge local aquifers. This is a double whammy, since it not only impacts local watershed water quality and quantity, but dramatically increases flooding downstream as increasing amounts of water race to the major waterways carry away significant topsoil. We had a bridge wash away in the early 90's after building it 3 meters higher than any of the old timers had remembered the water flooding, only to reach a new flood level the following year. So, watershed management is a important tool to help protect against future damage.

charlie

Re: Costs and hurricane impacts

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Thu 05 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Thanks, fabulous answers - very educative!

The future

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Sat 28 Feb 2009, almost 14 years ago

Can you give an idea of what the situation in Nicaragua is? There is so much work going on by so many agencies, so it would be good to know what overall progress has been made and what remains.

Please note that this comes from someone living in a city whose population is greater than the country of Nicaragua. So of course there is a question about how much work and how many organizations we should be supporting in that area.

Thanks,
Rajesh

The future

By Agua Para la Vida (APLV) Posted on Sun 01 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Nicaragua has a population of ~5.5M, ~45% of which is rural. Water coverage in the rural sector has been estimated anywhere from 30% to 60% and sanitation coverage is well below that. This is, of course, very difficult to assess and we believe that 30% is probably closer to reality. We have seen data that indicates communities with water systems that we know do not have a working system to provide safe, clean water. Progress is slow, and most estimates indicate that water coverage is keeping up with population growth at best. in short, there is a tremendous need and existing funding is far too small. we're a long ways from worrying about too many projects and too much funding!

Although there was a push to privatize water several years ago, it did not succeed. However, the central water authority, ENACAL, has limited resources and does not often work in the smaller, rural communities we serve. In the region where we work, we are virtually the only organization providing water and sanitation systems.

there is a pretty good overview of Nicaragua and Water at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Nicaragua

charlie

Re: The future

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Sun 01 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Thanks for the info - what is the situation now with the new government?

Gov'ts are often short in resources, but often a good source of funding or co-funding.

The other question related to provision of safe drinking water is population. Providing a source of safe drinking water is likely to cause a population explosion, which leads to problems (water, jobs, resources, ...) a few years down. Is there interest in adding some education about family planning (i realize that in Nicaragua it is a difficult topic to broach and i am only talking about education) to enhance the project?

Thanks,
Rajesh

Re: The future

By El Porvenir Posted on Sun 01 Mar 2009, almost 14 years ago

Well, the future in Spanish is El Porvenir. :-)

Welcome Charlie and Gilles.

Charlie is quite right about the wide range of stats, mostly government stats are hard to believe or trust. Although in many cases, it is simply a different definition of what water coverage or potable water means. Both APLV and EP (and many orgs on here) are likely more rigid on what potable water means.

We have worked with APLV for many years, they lend us valuable engineering advice on our gravity flow water system projects. There are many watsan organizations here, and the coordinations between them could be better, but in our case, we do not overlap in the areas of the country that we work, generally, except in the cases where APLV supports us. This is why we recommended them.

ENACAL recently closed its rural water systems department, although FISE (another government agency) is doing some work in systems.

APLV, and Charlie can correct me, has been successful in getting some municipal governments to get involved financially in some projects. EP has been looking into this recently as well (APLV and WFP gave us the idea) and the municipalities are open to the idea, mostly.

However, this is a tumultuous time with the current government. Yesterday there was another protest march from the opposition claiming fraud in the Nov elections - and more violence. This complicates matters somewhat, although for the most part, in the rural areas, this is manageable, since the protests are (mostly, but not completely) an urban tendency.

One of our regions had the municipality burned down after the elections. Has APLV had to deal with any problems of that sort after the elections?

Rob