Tingo Pucara, Ecuador: Water Distribution
Tingo Pucará is an indigenous community in Guangaje, located in the Cotopaxi Province. This is one of the poorest regions in Ecuador, with indicators for poor health, little possibility for income generation, and higher illiteracy rates than in other areas of the country. In August 2009, this particular community consisted of approximately 30 families (about 150 people) of indigenous Quechua heritage who have inhabited this region for centuries. In September 2010, the population had dropped to 26 families (about 99 people) mainly due to water supply issues.
In the past, the community of Tingo Pucará had sent multiple requests to the municipal authorities for assistance in constructing a water system, but were consistently rejected due to lack of budget or lack of interest from the authorities. Frustrated but well organized, the community members formed a water board to seek outside help in obtaining an adequate water supply. As a result, their efforts reached Professor Fernando Ortega from the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito (USFQ). Professor Fernando Ortega from USFQ then established communication with the EWB Pittsburgh Professional Chapter through one of his students.
Prior to the water pumping system, the community got their water from surface sources or two sources of water from springs they own at the bottom of the mountain. After being collected at the springs, water was carried primarily by women and children back to their houses in open containers. This water was then stored in or outside the house in the same containers without proper disinfection. As a result, diarrhea is the most frequent cause of death in the community; according to data from 2008, the mortality rate is over 30% in children under five.
Completed in 2012, a water supply system was implemented in Tingo Pucará. Since then, the system has been in continuous operation without any downtime due to any system failures. The system consists of an intake structure, pump station, and community storage tank. There have been no issues regarding reliability or effectiveness of the system to date. Furthermore, through the fees collected by the community's Water Committee, the electricity required to run the pump has been paid for on a regular basis without issue. A team returned to Tingo in 2015 to construct two composting latrines.
Esser Plaza, Southside Pittsburgh: Revitalization
Founded in 1939, the South Side Community Council (SSCC) gives a voice to the residents of the South Side Flats neighborhood and strengthens the community by celebrating and embracing its history and its arts and cultures. The SSCC wants to renovate Esser Plaza in the South Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. SSCC would like this space to become a welcoming, open space where the community can gather. In the past, the estimated cost for design and construction to renovate this plaza exceeded the available funding. For the city government, it was low priority to help the SSCC with this project. EWB-Pittsburgh Professional Chapter partnered with SSCC to advance the design of this plaza and use EWB members’ knowledge of engineering and landscape architecture to renovate the plaza. These renovations will improve the safety of the area surrounding the plaza. This project is currently almost complete with the final bids being completed for construction.
Beltzhoover, Pittsburgh: Community Garden
The South Hilltop Men’s Group has been working to maintain vacant lots, clean and weather proof abounded structures, and generally reverse the years of disinvestment and neglect through educational, spiritual, and economic empowerment.
The South Hilltop Men’s Group has started a project to take ownership of an abandoned building in the Beltzhoover neighborhood and transform it into a community space. The renovated building will include the following: a greenhouse which will grow produce for the local community, storage space for tools and equipment for use in local urban gardens, space for local artist to work and showcase their work, and classroom space to allow groups to provide classes on urban gardening, green infrastructure and lead contamination in local soils. The new building will also utilize solar power and rain water reuse for the greenhouse to make the project as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
This project has completed designs at this time and they have been turned over to a local architect and engineering firm.
Project Lead: Craig Johnston &
Technical Lead: Jesse Richter
Responsible Engineer in Charge
(REIC): Craig Johnston
Technical Mentor: Dennis Mialki