Civil Engineering I - Designing Community Water Systems in Central America

Learn and apply a multitude of civil engineering fundamentals to design clean water systems in Honduras.

Our bilingual on-the-ground engineers guide students and local Water Councils through the design of a community-wide water system in a rural and resource-limited Honduran community. The curriculum immerses students in the program methodology of a live global water intervention: community selection, water council interviews, geo-mapping, government collaboration, needs assessments, and monitoring & evaluation practices. Students design the GPS community mapping of the water system from the water intake source (well) to the higher elevation storage tank and design supply routes to homes in the community. Students analyze a rapid needs assessment of the population and project growth in the community to determine the size and specifics of the storage tank they design utilizing CAD software. And students calculate water pressure and pipe diameters utilizing EPANET software to design and size out the piping infrastructure. The final deliverable includes a presentation of their design and project report to the local Community Water Council and our local teams so they can be constructed later that year.

In addition to our skill-based learning objectives, building cultural competence is integrated into the course to increase the quality of services and improve outcomes with community partners.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Customize your Engineering TeleBrigade by selecting a set of modules. Explore available modules below:


Module 1: Introductions and Organization Overview

Our Facilitator provides an overview of Squads Abroad (SA), our parent organization, Global Brigades (GB), and its Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) program. Discussion on how WASH fits within a holistic development model and UN Sustainable Development goals. Introduction to the country and its water systems. Self-paced activity: Group reviews presentation on the WASH programs (water, sanitation and hygiene).

Module 2: Community Context and Challenges to Clean Water

Introduction to the community including profile, region, and map coordinates. Facilitator describes major issues to accessing clean drinking water. Using the GB website, internet resources, and TeleSquad presentations to substantiate their responses. Self-paced activity: Students research pressing issues that face rural communities in the area.

Module 3: Meeting the Water Council

Facilitator leads video introduction with a Honduran Water Council from the community partner. Self-paced activity: Students review the specific water and sanitation challenge to their selected community, testimonials from community members, and results of previous visits.

Module 4: Technician Site Visit 1: Community Assessment

Virtual field visit: recording of a technician in the community demonstrating how they use GPS and map the water system. Examine the community for existing wells, tanks, cisterns and home connections when present.

Module 5: Technical Training: GPS Mapping

Facilitator demonstrates GPS Mapping software so that students will be able to use it as a resource for their project.

Module 6: Technical Training: Epanet

Facilitator demonstrates Epanet software (webtool that models water distribution systems). Group views previous water system designs so they can get familiar with Epanet software and the scope of deliverables they will create.

Module 7: Technical Training: Design Software

Facilitator demonstrates design software so that students will be able to knowledgeably use it as a resource for their project. Self-paced Activity: Input of collected data in Design Software (Epanet).

Module 8: Technician Site Visit 2: Preliminary Charting

Group begins charting where they plan to replace any infrastructure and analyze the data to start the design phase. Self-paced Activity: Students split up into teams of 4-6 volunteers to begin planning the water system design and budget.

Module 9: Water Quality Testing

Our technician visits the community to collect water sample from the drinking source to be analyzed for quality. A review of the water test kit process and results from tests will be analyzed for Bacteria Lead (Pb), Pesticides (Pe), Nitrates/Nitrites (N), Chlorine (Cl), Hardness (Hd). Self-paced Activity: Group prepares draft of water tank map and budget to our engineer and coordinator.

Module 10: Working Session with Engineer 1: Project Design

Group has working session with engineer to provide feedback and guidance on their project. SA facilitator gives second presentation on WASH program methodology and overview of monitoring & evaluation practices. Self-paced activity: Based on engineer’s feedback, volunteers edit water system design and begin working on their presentation for the community.

Module 11: Working Session with Engineer 2: Project Design

Group has working session with engineer to provide feedback and guidance on their project. Finalize draft of the budget. Self-paced activity: Based on engineer’s feedback, volunteers continue editing water system design and begin working on their presentation for the community.

Module 12: Working Session with Engineer 3: Budget Analysis

Working session with our Engineer to discuss the water system budget including Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimate and report. Findings to be assembled in a Spanish PowerPoint presentation of the project to be shown by the local team to the Community Water Committee. Self-paced activity: Based on engineer’s feedback, volunteers edit designs and prepare the final presentation for the community with a script to be translated by SA facilitator.

Module 13: Water System Design and Budget Review

Teams submit video presentation along with designs to SA facilitator for translation and final review. Self-paced activity: Based on engineer’s feedback, volunteers edit designs and prepare the final presentation for the community with a script to be translated by SA facilitator.

Module 14: Presentation to the Water Council

Water system presentation is delivered to the Water Council for feedback. SA facilitator provides an overview of the project’s next steps toward construction and the cost recovery model of financing it. Self-paced activity: Group makes any changes to the design based on community feedback.

Module 15: Data Impact Reporting

Facilitator explains ongoing follow-up with the project and presents the impact of the project. Self-paced activity: Group makes any changes to the design based on community feedback.

Module 16: Post-Project Follow Up and Reflections

SA facilitator guides a reflection with the group and a Q & A about the usefulness of the project. Group is encouraged to advocate and help raise funds to implement the project. Self-paced activity: Receive certificate of completion.

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