This project aims to respond to the need of inadequate and contaminated water supplies in 3 villages by coupling a solar pumping water system with community hygiene promotion and training in community water management.
Bolivia, like many developing nations, is greatly affected by the lack of clean drinking water. Globally, contaminated water is the second greatest cause of infant mortality and an estimated 1.8 million children die each year as a result of illnesses linked to the consumption of polluted water. (PNUD 2002). In Bolivia, the quality of water in rural areas is extremely limited. According to Water for People, “2.3 million Bolivians do not have access to safe water (approximately 75 percent of the rural population) and the majority of people that do have access to water have an inadequate water service in terms of quantity, quality, and continuity.” The lack of access to safe water is a major causal factor of many health problems. For example, diarrhea causes 36% of deaths in children under 5 in Bolivia. Chronic diarrhea is associated with and contributes to chronic malnutrition as well. At the same time studies prove that the provision of potable water and sanitation facilities can reduce deaths from diarrhea by 65% and overall childhood mortality by 55%.
In November of 2012 staff members from Etta Projects and technicians from Always On Solar conducted a feasibility study in Bolivia to assess the viability of mechanizing the water systems in four communities with a solar, photovoltaic (PV) pumping system. The team studied the current potable water systems in four communities, collected demographic data and conducted interviews with families to determine the water requirements and the willingness of the community to participate in and take ownership of the projects. Technical data was also collected to understand the physical characteristics of the wells and boreholes and the solar resource at each site.
The results of the feasibility study showed that three of the four communities currently have limited access to potable water and could greatly benefit from solar electric pumping systems.
Village 1: Monte Rey
Monterey is an indigenous community located approximately 100km (6 hr drive) from the city of Montero in the Municipality of Santa Rosa in the Integrated North of the Department of Santa Cruz. There are 45 families and 30 houses. Residents’ primary language is Quechua but Spanish is also spoken. The community borders a forest reserve and the area is dominated by large soy farms and the timber industry. General living conditions are extremely poor and the community is only accessible by road in the dry season.
The community has expressed interest in a solar pumping system and is willing to provide all the necessary labor for the installation of the pumping and distribution system. They are also willing to form a water committee and pay a monthly tariff for water use.
Until 2010 the residents of Monterey shared a shallow, hand dug well located in the center of the community. A borehole was drilled in 2009 by H2O S.R.L and a hand pump was installed by Etta Projects. Residents estimate that each family uses approximately 6 buckets (180L) of water each day which is carried to their homes. Additional water is used on days that they wash clothes. The water from this borehole is used for drinking and washing. It is not metered and used freely.
Village 2: Guadalupe
Guadalupe is located about 9km from Monterrey. It is also is an indigenous community with residents’ primary language being Quechua but Spanish is also spoken. There are approximately 30 families in the community which is dispersed over an area of about 8km. In the central area there are approx. 50 residents living in an area within 100m of a central plaza. The central plaza contains a school and a health clinic. General living conditions are extremely poor and similar to those in Monterey. The community is only accessible by road in the dry season. The community leader expressed an interest in a PV pump, especially a localized distribution system.
Community members who live in the central area currently get their water from a hand dug well, estimated to be 10M deep. In the more remote areas families have their own hand dug wells that appear to be shallower. There is currently no water tank or distribution system. A borehole was drilled approx. 400M from the central area in 2009 by H2O S.R.L and a hand pump was installed by the municipality. The community used the hand pump for a short period of time but complained that the water was dirty. The pump was damaged by the dirty water and removed. Since then, the borehole was cleaned by the Prefecture and capped because there was no longer a working pump available. The community does not use the borehole.
Village 3: El Abra del Astillero
El Abra del Astillero is a Quechua community located high in a mountainous region 9km south of the town Moro Moro (approximately 8 hours from the city of Montero). Moro Moro is the location of the municipality and health center. The road to El Abra del Astillero is long, rough and steep. El Abra has a total of 80 families, aprox. 250 residents. There is a local school with 55 students. Residents of El Abra claim that the local population is shrinking because of lack of access to potable water.
Approximately 400 meters from the town center of El Abra is an artesian well located down a steep embankment off of the road into town. Water flows out of the ground at this location and large concrete catch basin. From the basin water trickles into a secondary, smaller basin where it is gravity fed to a public tap-stand in the community. There is considerable seasonal variation in the amount of flow. At the time of this feasibility study, the dry season, water flowed at approx. 3.75 liters/min. Residents claim that most of the year the flow is considerably greater. An NGO, MMC (Mennonite Central Committee) has been doing work in Moro Moro and the surrounding communities. In March of 2012 a 12,000L tank was installed alongside the road, uphill from the artesian well. A pipe was buried from the tank to the well. In addition, a water distribution system was designed and installed from the tank to the community. Currently, 39 families are connected to the distribution system as part of Phase I of the water improvement project. However, the large tank was never connected to the spring because there is no means of pumping the water from the spring to the tank. In addition, two 3500L black tanks were purchased and brought to the site. Plans were put into place to use these tanks as a secondary collection area to pump the water from. Currently the tanks are not connected.
This project aims to respond to the need of inadequate and contaminated water supplies in the three indigenous villages with a solar pumping system and promotion of WASH activities. The new water systems will provide a sufficient supply of clean drinking water to community members while eliminating the need for on-going fuel expenditures as well as maintenance and reliance on an unreliable grid. Once communities are serviced by solar powered pumps, they will enjoy ownership of the system and direct control over its power and function. They will also be introduced to a technology that fosters a sustainable energy ethic. Lastly, the project will encourage behavior change through hygiene education and promotion.
LocationMonte Rey, Guadalupe and El Abra, Department of Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Primary Focus: Water - Community
Secondary Focus: Hygiene Education
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 500
Sources include a feasibility study conducted by members of Etta Projects and AlwaysOn Solar. Data triangulated by community demographics documented by local municipalities. The population breakdown is as follows: MonteRey- 148, Guadalupe- 50, and El Abra- 250
School Children Getting Water: 150
All three schools will be connected to the water distribution system.
People Getting Sanitation: 0
People Getting Other Benefits: 500
Hygiene promotion workshops will be offered to families by members of the water committee with additional support from project staff and water and health experts from the local municipalities. All families will receive five training sessions related to the following themes:
• Family Contributions to the Water System
• Clean & Safe Drinking Water
• Personal & Household Hygiene
• Water-Related Illnesses.
All families benefiting from the water system are expected to participate in the education component of the project. Additional training will be provided to the teachers and will target students.
Water Committee Training: Each of the three villages will elect villagers to serve on a local water committee. The local water committee will be responsible for ensuring that families properly use the water system, conserve water, pay their tariffs regularly and practice healthy hygiene habits. Water Committee Members will receive special training that includes: Water Committee Structure & Organization, Roles & Responsibilities, Financial Management; Mobilizing the Village; Water Quality; Hygiene; and Technical Operation and Management of the Water System. The training sessions will spread over 6 months. Intensive trainings with all three committee will be held in the city of Montero with supplementary, hands-on training in each village.
Water committee members will receive a 3-day technical training on solar powered water system. It will be held at Etta Projects office in Montero, a central area so water committee members from each community can attend. At the very least, three members of the water committee must attend the training program. The program will focus on the operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, repair and replacement of the PV pumping system components. Training programs will also cover broader information dealing with electricity, safety, tool use, etc. Trainees will install the PV pumping systems under the direct supervision of AlwaysOn technicians and Etta Projects’ staff.
Start Date: 2013-09-20
Completion Date: 2014-06-30
The project will implement PV (Solar) powered electric water pumping systems and water distribution systems (where applicable) in the three communities Monte Rey , Guadalupe and El Abra; all which currently do not have adequate access to potable water. Solar electric pumping systems were chosen for a number of reasons. Bolivia has a good solar resource and the system designs use proven and dependable technology to pump sufficient quantities of water without the use of expensive fuels or unreliable grid power. Unlike many conventional pumping systems, the solar pump can operate unattended.
The design is simple; when the sun is shining the pump is pumping water. There are very few moving parts which alleviates the need for continued costly maintenance. The system essentially contains three main components: The solar array, a controller, and the pump. The array consists of four to eight solar panels mounted on a pole. The electricity generated by the solar panels passes first through the control box where it is regulated before energizing the pump. The pump may be a submersible well type pump (which will be used in Monte Rey and Guadalupe) or a surface water pump.
The following summarizes the action plan of implementing the water systems:
1. Monte Rey: The community will be responsible for constructing a water tower. The tank will be approximately 10000 liters in capacity to provide the community with 1.7 days of usage. The project will install a PV array on a pole or ground mount in the area around the pump. The community will construct a security fence around the borehole and PV array. A distribution system containing up to 1000M of 2 ” PVC pipe will be installed so potable water will be available within 6m of each family’s property. It will be the family’s responsibility to fund and install the final section of distribution piping, meter and tap stand on their own property.
2. Guadalupe: The community will be responsible for constructing a water tower. The tank will be approximately 10000 liters in capacity to provide the community with 1.7 days of usage. The project will install a PV array on a pole or ground mount in the area around the pump. The community will construct a security fence around the borehole and PV array. The project will install a limited distribution system, approximately 600M of PVC pipe that will service the central area of the community in the vicinity of the school and health clinic. A public tap stand will be installed in this area, and families in the concentrated area will have the option of paying the additional costs for their domestic connection. This design will also allow expansion of the distribution system in the future to service individual homes.
3. EL Abra: Approximately 1/3 of the families of EL Abra have already been connected to a water distribution system, although the system is not currently operational. The village has already purchased water storage tanks as well. This project will install a PV array on a pole or ground mount in cleared area within 100M of the pump. The community will construct a security fence around the borehole and PV array. Upon completion of the pumping system any interested community members currently not hooked up to the distribution system could connect under the management of the water committee and the local municipality. Extension of the water distribution system in El Abra is not funded in this project.
The details of the technology, technical summaries & recommendations, and information on Bolivia's solar resource can be found in the feasibility study in the Attachments section.
The project will be done in specific phases. Please see the Phase document and a project calendar in the Attachments section.
The participating communities have solicited support for a water system from numerous organizations over the past years. These villages proposed a unique challenge due to the lack of electricity in the villages. Consequently, Etta Projects identified a partnering organization, Always On Solar, to combine efforts and expertise in order to effectively respond to the communities’ water needs.
The communities have agreed to take on a number of responsibilities in the project that will promote ownership of the water system. Each of the three villages will elect villagers to serve on a local water committee. The local water committee will be responsible for ensuring that families properly use the water system, conserve water, pay their tariffs regularly and practice healthy hygiene habits, thereby administrating the functions and sustainability of the system. All families will sign a contract agreeing to pay the monthly tariffs and abide by the community water policy.
The community is also responsible for providing labor and materials towards the water system. They have agreed to install the new tanks and the water distribution system. The community will also construct a security fence around the borehole and PV array and install a large steel pole that will be connected to the solar panels to prevent theft.
Lastly, additional involvement from the village includes: attending community meetings and allowing home visits, participating in training sessions, helping to maintain the water system, and practicing hygienic behavior and sanitation.
Each of the two local municipalities (Municipality of Moro Moro and the Municipality of Santa Rosa) will make a financial contribution toward the water equipment and will attend training sessions. They have also agreed to support monitoring and evaluation of the projects’ sustainability.
The Ministry of Water and Environment is working alongside the project to approve tax exemption on all materials and equipment that are entering Bolivia from the U.S.
A financial structure will be developed within the communities to assure that funds are available if parts need to be repaired or replaced. The water committee will collect monthly payments for water service from water users and teach families the importance of making regular payments. This system will be established by a local water committee. The level of payment and the conditions of use will be agreed upon at the start of the project before implementing the system. A constant funding stream ensures the feasibility of the water system. The financial contribution of each family gives the community a larger stake in the sustainability of the water system and encourages families to maintain and repair the water system when there are problems.
Maintenance Cost: $2,010
1. 155 families (approximately 500 people) from three villages will have access to safe, reliable water.
Verification: The Project will count the number of households that have a functioning water faucet at the end of the project. Tools used will be direct measurement and direct observation.
2. 95% of the participating families will report satisfaction of the water system.
Verification: The Project Coordinator will interview all participating families and assess levels of satisfactions.
3. 90% of the participants will demonstrate improved hygienic habits involving bathroom use, hand-washing and safe water practices
Verification: Baseline date will be collected before the project and compared to data collected at the end of the project. The same monitoring tools will be used during each evaluation phase. Tools include direct observation, interviews, and photographs.
4. The project will be locally managed and sustained after the grant period.
Verification: The Project will count the number of families that have a functioning water faucet 3 and 5 years after completing the project.
The water committee will be responsible for all maintenance incluing cleaning dust/dirt off the modules, tightening nuts and bolts on the racking system, cleaning the tank periodically, checking electrical connections, and repairing leaks in plumbing. The community's successful management of the pumping system and ability to generate income to buy replacement parts (like a new pump or controllers) are good indicators of the success/sustainability of the project.
Please see uploaded budget for details of project expenses (please note, the first tab shows a detailed list of all project expenses and the second tab shows a summary of expenses and the partnership contributions).
Co Funding Amount: $49,682
This project has secured: $46,419 from Rotary International and a commitment from the Ministry of Water & Environment in Bolivia $2,162.90 toward customs fees.In addition the Municipality of Santa Rosa has designated $1,100 towards the distribution systems. Both the Municipality of Moro Moro and the Municipality of Santa Rosa have already provided funding towards the water wells.
Community Contribution Amount: $17,212
Each of the three communities will contribute manual labor towards building the water tank and fence as well as installing the water distribution system. Families from El Abra and Monte Rey will also pay for the domestic hookups to the distribution system. Community members will also pay for ongoing use and maintenance of the water systems.
Fund Requested: $11,795
Implementing Organization: Always On Solar
Always On Solar will be responsible for the technical support of the solar powered water systems. Always On Solar’s projects use solar energy to improve living conditions and promote clean, independent and sustainable power sources to meet community energy needs. Always On Solar is dedicated to the successful implementation of sustainable projects. In addition to technical support in project design and installation Always On Solar fosters community training and education.
A team from Always On Solar provides the training needed to assure long term sustainability of the solar project.Always On Solar provides technical expertise, designs and materials for solar energy projects such as: water pumping and purification, electricity for hospitals and medical centers, school lighting and power and other projects that enhance quality of life and benefit communities. To ensure project sustainability and promote the growth of jobs and a local solar industry, Always On Solar provides extensive technical training classes to local technicians, community members and nonprofit organizations. Classes focus on electrical basics, the installation and maintenance of solar energy systems and small business development.