2021 marks the beginning of the final phase of the clean water project in the community of Virginia.
Virginia is a small community of approximately 550 people. It is located in the northwest part of Guatemala, in a region known as the Ixcan. After several years of surveying the land, testing the soil compaction and the water quality in Virginia we are finally ready to move the project forward to completion.
The country of Guatemala has only two seasons, the rainy season which runs from May through October and the dry season that runs from November through April. During the rainy season the small communities in the rural part of the country have an adequate supply of water but it is extremely contaminated. Often, they gather their drinking water from shallow hand dug wells. These shallow wells are used to collect surface water that is contaminated and causes illness especially in the children.
During the dry season these hand dug wells completely dry up which forces the women and children to travel long distances on foot to the nearest river or stream.
These are the same rivers and streams that they use to bathe, do their laundry and water their animals. So, the water issues are twofold, during the rainy season the water is plentiful but contaminated. During the dry season the water accessibility is very limited.
We then began to gather the pertinent information needed to drill a deep well that would provide the community with easily accessible, clean drinking water.
To gather the necessary information, we relied on MSPP’s volunteer engineering group. This group of professional engineers mentored engineering students from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE) and South Illinois University-Carbondale (SIUC). Together the teams made several assessment trips to Guatemala gathering water quality and soil compaction data, and surveying the land in the community.
The final step before implementation of the well was to determine the best possible place to drill the well that would ensure a strong water source for years to come. To assist us with this MSPP hired a civil engineering firm called Sinergia, located in Guatemala City to perform a soil mechanics and hydrogeological study for the community. The best possible site has been determined and we are ready to fulfill our commitment to provide clean drinking water for the community of Virginia.
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