El Sauce

The people of El Sauce, a rural village in Honduras, lack access to clean water. The 500 residents are impacted by waterborne illnesses via a distribution system with serious supply, maintenance and contamination issues. El Sauce lies 5 km west of Villanueva, and is comprised of roughly 80 homes.

EWB NoVa’s community-based organization partner in El Sauce is Armor of Hope (AOH) Ministries whose mission is to alleviate human suffering in impoverished areas through sustainable, faith-based development. AOH has been working in El Sauce for eight years, providing primarily acute healthcare to the village, as well as providing health education services. The EWB-NoVa team is excited to build upon this partnership and implement quality solutions for the people of El Sauce.

EWB NoVa conducted an assessment trip in November of 2015 to meet the residents, understand their concerns, and evaluate system inefficiency as well as the needs for repair and upgrades. Currently the water supply system consists of an aged network of PVC piping, sourced by three spring boxes of varying age and quality, supported by a series of storage tanks. Following the initial assessment trip, the team has identified additional water quality sampling needed to close the gaps in the information collected on the first trip. The team also discovered the need for changes to the oversight and management of the water system and has already begun working closely with the community water committee to begin implementing changes.

The team has just completed our first implementation trip in July 2017 and successfully drilled a well to serve as the community’s new drinking water source. The 200′ deep well took three weeks to dig, and was driven by another partner organization, Primero Agua, a non-profit organization founded to help bring clean potable water to the people of Honduras. You can watch drone footage of the El Sauce community and the well drilling work during this last trip by clicking here!

The team is planning a return trip for Fall of 2017 to install an electrical pump and begin connecting the well to the community’s distribution system. In the meantime, the team will use in-country contacts to conduct water quality testing and ensure the safety and quality of the new water source. A centralized disinfection system is also currently under development for implementation once the distribution system has been fully connected.

The team also plans to meet with representatives from the Honduran embassy in Washington, DC to develop deeper diplomatic relations with the government and elicit direct support for the El Sauce community. The team contacts the El Sauce community’s Water Committee monthly to get updates on the village’s repair and fundraising efforts, and to keep them informed of the team’s progress.

The EWB-NoVa team is eager to consolidate support for this project, and anyone interested is encouraged to volunteer time, materials, and/or funding! For information, contact the team at elsauce@web-nova.org. Team meetings are held every 2nd Tuesday of the month immediately following the EWB General Body Meetings, and every 4th Tuesday of the month at 7 pm or on alternate dates as needed. All General Body Meetings are located at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center (7054 Haycock Rd, Falls Church, VA 22043). Students and professionals are welcome!