Honduras – Los Planes
When EWB-Northeastern first visited Los Planes in 2006, its 116 residents carried their water from local streams and springs. Without enough water to irrigate their crops, many of the villagers could not provide enough food for their family. As a result, many villagers reported going without food two to three days a week, and suffered health problems like malnutrition and diarrhea due to the lack of clean water. EWB-NEU determined that both of their water sources were contaminated.
Finding a suitable source of water was a challenge at first. But with the help of the local non-profit organization Americans Caring Teaching and Sharing (ACTS), the larger town of La Reynada, two miles away, agreed to share its water source. EWB-Northeastern began interviewing villagers and collecting data for the design of a new system.
During the 2006-2007 academic year, EWB-Northeastern designed a gravity-fed distribution system. This mountainous terrain made this a special challenge, requiring the construction of two suspension bridges. In spring 2007, the transmission line from the source to the town was built. Finally, in winter 2007, pipelines to individual houses were installed. Los Planes residents completed nearly all of the construction.
As the project reached the five-year anniversary, a new health survey was conducted. The results showed that the diarrhea was no longer a problem for the village. Malnutrition, however, is still present. The results also showed that the life span of men and women has increased from 40s to 50s and 60s.