Higuerito is a poor, but growing community in Honduras about 193km from the capital Tegucigalpa and about 58km from the urban center of San Pedro Sula. The community consists of about 250 households and was originally located on the other side of the hill from its current location. However, in 1998 hurricane Mitch came through and destroyed their original community which forced them to relocate their entire community to its current location. While the new community was well planned it was built in a hurry to provide emergency housing for the city’s population which was homeless after hurricane Mitch.
Since the community was built in a hurry the water system is in need of a major upgrade. In particular a number of the pipes delivering water are exposed and are regularly damaged. The system is also fed from a contaminated stream 4km away and is delivered untreated to the community. The system is also at capacity and can only provide water for half of the community at one time and obviously won’t be able to handle the growth the community is expecting.
The EWB will provide the technical experience and some of the work to upgrade the water system for Higuerito. This will require a major investment in support from the members of the community both in labor and in financial contributions to make sure the system can be maintained and will continue to function in the years to come.
After visiting the location the plan is to build a new water tank at the top of the hill above the community which will be fed from new well at the base of the hill. Much of the water delivery system can be reused, but the exposed and damaged pipes will need to be fixed.
Update January 2019
We traveled to the community in March 2018 to install the pump and finish the main line construction to the tanks. After a intense week of trenching and installation, we were able to turn on the pump successfully. While there we also visited the school, giving a lesson on engineering and good habits for water sanitation. Since March, we are continuing to work with the community on O&M, Water Board activities, and assisting with some unexpected issues due to the instability of the government. Our final step is installing a tap stand and getting the Water Board recognized as a legal entity.
Update May 2017
Our first implementation trip completed in February was wildly successful due to vital collaboration with the community and Rotary partner. There were some design components requested to be modified to preferred Honduran construction methodologies. By having an EWB structural engineer on the travel team, we facilitated the review of these modifications and determined them still structurally sound on the spot. We completed nearly two concrete cinder block tanks in two short weeks! Three remaining tanks are in in construction, providing for total storage for 116,667 gallons of readily accessible water!
Next up is the design upgrade to the existing distribution system! Main line construction is moving forward at this current time. When completed, we will be providing a reliable, clean and sustainable water source to as many as 2,300 thousand people within the community of Higuerito Central and downstream communities. Throughout the project, we have assisted the community with developing a Water Committee that will manage the finances and be responsible for the O&M of the system. This project has not only given back the human right to water, we have tapped into the empowerment of a community.
The next scheduled travel will focus on completing the system connection to the pump and sanitation education.
Update August 2013
The well is complete! Even better we are getting 1000gpm which is better than we were expecting.
Update May 2013
In September 2012 we initiated drilling of the well. We drilled to about 400’ when we encountered rock that we couldn’t penetrate with the current drilling equipment. As a result we needed to find a new driller to finish the well. As of today we have found a new driller and are working to get a contract signed. Once the contract is signed we’ll continue with the drilling.
Update May 2012
Check out our youngest fundraiser to date! Please help Quinn raise money to support our effort to bring clean and reliable drinking water to Higuerito, Honduras!
Update January 2011
Due to a number of changes with our contacts in Higuerito another planning trip was needed with the focus being on Higuerito. In January the EWB team made another trip to re-establish relations with the community and the water board. During the visit they evaluated three sites for the new water tank and found the location by the soccer field to be the most viable. They also examined a location for the well at the base of the hill and met with a local the well driller to get an estimate on the cost.
Update May 2009
The Engineers without Borders made an initial site assessment trip in May 2009 to investigate Higuerito along with a couple other cities in the area to consider investment in their community. They obtained several water samples, conducted an audit of existing community health and sanitation practices, performed a preliminary terrain survey of communities, cultivated numerous community contacts, and researched the local costs of most construction materials.