Honduras – Ocotal
The Ocotal Water Supply Project aims to bring a new distribution system to the communities of Ocotal and Potrerillos, located approximately 14 km from El Rosario. Ocotal is a community of 378 people with a 40 year old degrading system. The current source is unable to provide clean water at sufficient pressures, causing community members to boil and chlorinate their water or buy bottled water. The indigenous community of Potrerillos has 23 community members and currently retrieves their water from a nearby river with low water quality. Members of both communities reached out to EWB-USA NEU Honduras in 2014 with the location of a new source and hopes of a new water distribution system.
The Honduras Program visited the communities for the first time in August 2015 to assess the situation and take preliminary data for a new system. One priority for the trip was also to establish a relationship with the community. The travel team met with the community and Water Board and left the community with a good understanding of what this project will involve and what their responsibilities are moving forward. A Project Partnership Agreement was discussed, and the full document has been sent to the communities for signatures.
In December 2016, the program traveled again to the Yoro district for their second Assessment trip. With the help of community members, the travel team identified two groundwater springs which will serve as the source for the communities’ new system. The team collected topographical data by surveying the region, and collected water samples from the current and new source to be sent to a lab for water quality analysis. From the data collected and notes taken on the trip, the program has been in the process of designing for the first phase of implementation. Plans have been drawn for a spring box, a brick-masonry structure which will capture the spring water and protect it from surface contaminants.
In Spring of 2018, The EWB-NEU project in Ocotal, Honduras was discontinued due to updated classification as a high risk travel zone, necessitating EWB suspension of projects that may put travelers at risk. Fortunately, an alumni team of EWB-NEU graduates in partnership with a previous faculty mentor and the NGO ACTS has stepped up to continue the Ocotal project without our involvement. They are continuing where we left off, and plan to travel to Ocotal soon to finally construct the source box planned for the next implementation phase