Water Resources Professional Project Reports


Stephen M. Kolk

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A lack of access to clean, potable water is one of the greatest health threats encountered in third world countries, especially among rural populations. Annually, a staggering number of deaths, many of them children, are attributed to waterborne diseases. The Honduran village of Altos de la Paz is typical in its susceptibility to disease due to a lack of clean water. One way of solving this problem is to access the river used as the primary drinking source higher up in the watershed, upstream of any anthropogenic influences, and pipe it to each house in the village. The first step in doing this involved collecting field data, including the physical layout of the village, a census and water demand estimate, any available water quality information, an estimate of the source's hydrology, and determining the local leadership for the project. Once a rough layout of the pipeline was done, it was evaluated and fme-tuned using hydraulic modeling software. Detailed drawings were then made to show the various features of the system, and an estimate of the quantities and cost of the materials was done. At this point it was acknowledged that the preliminary design must be field truthed to determine its accuracy and acceptability to the villagers. The result of a cost effectiveness analysis was that this project, although more expensive than other similar projects in the region, was not unreasonably expensive. It was also determined that the proposed technology was the most appropriate for this locale. Finally, the project was assessed from a social perspective and determined, based on evaluation ofthe environmental responsibility and leadership capabilities of the village, to be worthy of the time and capital investment required to construct the project.

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A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Policy Management Option, Water Resources Program, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May, 2004