About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents
 
advertisement


Subscriptions
Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
     RTN
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By


Product Reviews
Partner Sites

machinecontrolonline 


lbszone.com

GISuser.com

GeoJobs.biz

GeoLearn

 

Spatial Media LLC properties

Associates

ASPRS

newsnow 

Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

On The Rise—Quality of Water, Quality of Life From Northeast U.S. to Central Africa Print E-mail
Written by Gordon Wilson, LSIT   
Thursday, 04 June 2015

A 5.096Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Bbanda is a small rural village of about 1,100 people in southern central Uganda, located 45 minutes from the closest town of Mityana. There is no electricity or reliable source of drinking water. But thanks to the work of some engineering students, that's about to change.

Since 2009, volunteer members of the Northeastern University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders(EWB-USA NEU) have been working on providing a village-wide, water system for the community of Bbanda. The need for clean water in many developing countries, especially in Africa, is nothing new. Residents of Bbanda, many of them children, may walk two miles round-trip every day to fetch water that is often unsanitary. Because the children are often the ones fetching this water, they spend time walking to the spring instead of in the classroom.

In 2009, most water sources in Bbanda were open springs located throughout the village. These springs were often shared with animals, served as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and almost always tested positive for E. coli. At the time there were two borehole wells, one at the school and one at the clinic. Two additional boreholes were drilled after 2009 as a temporary solution. Alex Piers, electrical engineering and physics student, has been program director of Northeastern's EWB-USA Chapter since 2014. "When the boreholes work, they work well," said Piers, "But they break a lot. The need for a water delivery system is plain to see."

The project's goal is to establish 12 community tap stands dispersed throughout the village. Once these 12 tap stands are in place, almost every house will be within 400 m (¼ mile) of fresh water, shortening the present commute by as much as 2 km (1.5 miles) for some residents. A generator-driven pump will draw water from a well drilled by the EWB-USA to a storage tank on a hill. Gravity will carry water from the storage tank down to the tap stands across the village.

Under the guidance of retired engineer Timothy McGrath, members of the EWB-USA Chapter have made 11 trips to Uganda. In the early trips, the need for quality water was so dire that temporary relief projects were established. Along with the two boreholes, the team installed and rehabilitated several rainwater-harvesting systems at the schools. In the first stages of the master project, the team geo-located prominent structures in the town using a Trimble® GeoXTTM 3000 series handheld receiver. The data was processed using Trimble GPS Pathfinder® Office software. The newly-formed town map included the school, religious buildings, houses, as well as existing wells and springs. As the project progressed, the new pipelines--including enclosures and manholes-- were geo-located to make an as-built plan of the new water system.

Excitement filled Piers' voice as he shared that the group is close to completing the project. "We are extremely close to commissioning phase one," he said. EWB-USA NEU has already drilled and coordinated construction on the storage tank, as well as five tap stands. Commissioning phase one will activate these five community tap stands. Phase two will add seven tap stands at the outskirts of the village. Throughout the second stage of the project, the team will geo-locate the new pipeline and tap stands using the R3 receiver and add these features to their existing map.

The group has a local supplier for the pump and generator; they are now waiting for funds, which will come from a variety of sources such as grants from the university, personal donations, corporate sponsors, and their partner NGO. Working with local suppliers means that money paid for parts and labor will stay in Uganda. This also ensures that a local mechanic will be familiar with these machines and able to make necessary repairs should the pump or generator fail. It will only take a few days for installation and testing before the system can be activated. "Basically we just need to buy a pump and generator and install them," said Piers, "then we can get safe water to these people." Piers hopes the project will be completed in May 2015, after spring classes are over.

EWB-USA NEU has seen a tremendous amount of community input and involvement since the project began in 2009. Most of the water pipeline has been trenched and laid by the villagers themselves. What's been lacking in this community, as with most EWB-USA project areas, are the engineering skills to develop a system and see it to completion. Since its incorporation in 2002, EWB-USA has been connecting engineering students with developing countries in order to find solutions to their infrastructure needs. Often times the need is clean drinking water. The Northeastern University chapter, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of several across the country. It consists mostly of civil engineers but its student members represent many of the school's disciplines.

Responsibility for maintaining the system will eventually fall to the community's water board, a group of 17 members from different facets of the Ugandan community. However, in the year following the system's activation, EWB-USA NEU will return to test and monitor the water quality. This will ensure a smooth and successful transfer of ownership and responsibility. Sustainability is one of EWB-USA NEU's top priorities.

Piers said that community involvement with the project has been a huge part of its success. Community members have been working right along with the engineers, performing much of the labor work, especially when the EWB-USA NEU team is gone. Piers noted that it's obvious the residents value the system and want to keep it up and running, he said, "They see the new system as a major improvement to their quality of life."

Gordon Wilson is a land surveyor-in-training (LSIT) and freelance writer located in Maine.

A 5.096Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
< Prev   Next >

Marc Cheves, PS 
Editorial: A Great Year to be a Surveyor
Some magazines have what are called "theme" issues. That is, most of the content is focused on one particular subject. In my 22+ years of survey magazine publishing, my philosophy has always been to have a little bit of everything in each issue, thereby eliminating the possibility that ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Case Examinations: Halverson v. Deerwood Village
Whew! We really beat the snot out of Bryant v. Blevins and practical locations. Well this month we're back on new case that hit the Minnesota Supreme Court's docket in 1982. We've got the familiar gymnastics of jurisprudence featuring an extraordinary array of flying rope stretchers ...
Read the Article
Michel Philips 
Extreme Environment Surveying
A Franco-Chilean team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 rugged handheld for marine cave surveying, gathering data to classify the inaccessible northern half of Madre de Dios for UNESCO World Heritage. The team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 ....
Read the Article
Erik Dahlberg 
The Original Green Engineers
Sometimes, it's best just to leave things as you found them. That's the lesson shared by Dr. Richard Miksad and his students at the University of Virginia. As a result of studies covering nearly a decade, Miksad's teams have developed detailed ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself 49: No Dimensions
In square A-C-D-B with side S, C-E is tangent to the semicircle Q1 with diameter B-D. Q2 is the inscribed circle of A-C-E. The tangent to Q1 and Q2 meets the sides of the square at F and H and intersects C-E at t G. Q3 is the inscribed circle of C-G-H. What is the ratio of the radii of circles ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
Discovery on Grizzly Peak
When First Lieutenant Montgomery M. Macomb arrived in Carson City, Nevada, from Washington D.C., on July 28, 1878, his assigned survey crew from the 4th Artillery was waiting and ready for the new field season. At age 25, Macomb was the leader ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Fighting City Hall Over Land
Once upon a time (1989 to be exact) in a place not so far away from where I live, a man (Francis Galdo) bought a home across the street from a vacant parcel owned by the City of Philadelphia. That parcel, along with others, had been acquired by condemnation back in 1974 subsequent to a 1956 ....
Read the Article
Patrick C. Garner, PS 
Book Review: Boundary Retracement: Processes and Procedures
When I was in my mid-twenties and learning the honorable profession of land surveying, I was lucky to be guided by a mentor who would grab a book off his office shelf and say, "Every surveyor should have a copy of this!" The first example he waved at me was Davis, Foote and Kelly's Surveying ....
Read the Article

deliciousrssnewsletterlinkedinfacebooktwitter

Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
please
contact Amerisurv


Google
 
AMERISURV TOP NEWS

Trimble Intros
TSC7 Controller

GOT NEWS? Send To
press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content

Sponsor


News Feeds

 
Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps
Careers

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

 

Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 

twitter

 




The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
7820B Wormans Mill Road, #236
Frederick MD 21701
301-620-0784
301-695-1538 - fax