Water Resources Professional Project Reports


Christine Casey

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The sustainability of a rural water supply and sanitation project is essential to the health of a community. Three rural communities in Honduras organized themselves and requested water supply and sanitation projects. With the help of the local and national governments and technical volunteers, they constructed the systems, were trained in operation and maintenance, and educated in hygiene and sanitation. The goal was self-sustaining projects after the technicians left. Upon visiting the projects of Nueva Vida, Miramar, and Las Flores after 3, 4, and 13 years of operation, respectively, I observed that the communities did not appear to be heading in the direction of sustainability. This study includes an assessment of the three projects, which found that the lack of a strong managing body for the system, the reliance on emergency maintenance, and the lack of chlorine all constrained the sustainability of the systems. External agencies imposed the current management structure, including the rules and regulations for the system, onto these communities. The communities did not play a role in designing the management structure of the project and are therefore reluctant to comply entirely. In order to prevent the failure of these systems, the communities need an external support agency (ESA) -- a government or private agency or non-governmental organization (NGO) -- for management and technical assistance. Given the technical and social design of the projects, community management, or community control and responsibility of the system with external support, will improve the sustainability of the three water supply projects.

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Rural community water supply, Sanitation projects


A Professional Project Report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico.