El Encinal is a small, mountain community with a population of over 215 people. Prior to Global brigades’ arrival, the community of El Encinal relied on a drinking water supply system that did not meet all of the adequate conditions of a correctly working of a correctly working system in terms of water quality and quantity. That system was over 25 years old and had been constructed by a Honduran government institution. Very little monitoring or follow up was provided by his institution after construction. The original system was constructed to supply a total of 50 households distributed to the two communities of El Encinal and El Junco without taking into account the growth of these communities. Presently, these communities have a total of approximately 90 households. Houses which were not originally connected to the system or located at an elevation above the original storage tank were not connected to the system and were forced to get water by carrying it from a nearby stream. Pipe diameters in the original system design were not sufficient to provide water consistently to all of the houses that were connected. In many cases houses could go without receiving water for up to a week.
The Water Council had only two members who were not complying with any of their responsibilities. Due to lack of organization in the water council and poor water service the vast majority of community members were not paying a water fee. This lack of organization and general infrastructural failure caused the community to stop treating its water. Illnesses related to water and poor sanitation and hygiene were common. As a very under resourced community, El Encinal did not have the funds to improve their existing system, or to consider constructing a new system. The community had previously solicited support from government organizations without receiving any help.
Water System Solution
Water Brigaders from 13 different universities worked in El Encinal from August 2009 to June 2010. During that time, these volunteers worked with community members to:
• Reach an agreement between El Junco & El Encinal to design two separate water systems.
• Repair the dam and intake infrastructure and install a filter
• Build a 5,000 gallon storage tank with chlorinator
• Redesign and construct an entire distribution network
• Connect all houses and churches to the system
• Provide educational seminars to children in the community on water
and health related topics
To ensure the sustainability of the project, a new seven member Water Council was established and trained by Water Brigades in addition to a Basic Sanitation Committee also trained by Water Brigades. When Water Brigades first entered the El Encinal a dire water need was observed. Furthermore, the community lacked leadership, organization, and motivation after having lived so many years without a proper water system and no government support. An enormous success was working with and eventually seeing the change in community organization and buy-in to their water system.
Water Project Stages
All stages of this water project have been completed.