Los Gonzales, Guatemala Water Distribution System
1 location in Guatemala
Focus: Drinking Water - Households; Drinking Water - Community
Implementation dates: February 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015
Planned impact: 239 people
Status: Approved Accepted
$15,394 estimated project cost
$5,000 requested
$12,000 funded to date
Peer Review Average Score: 6.67
8 reviews submitted
8 discussion participants


Implement a Water Distribution System in Los Gonzales, Guatemala

This plan was funded in mid-2013 as part of four sub-projects in San Jacinto municipality, Guatemala. The budget for this particular system was revised downwards by $3,394.


Community members in this mountainous area currently get bacteriologically-contaminated water from an intermittent stream 1500+ meters from the community. They have dammed the stream to provide more water for longer periods of time. In the dry season, there is much less water, if any. Women and children spend lots of time getting water for all needs, including drinking, cooking, sanitation, bathing, and minimal irrigation of household garden plots.
We have implemented water similar systems in four neighboring or nearby communities over the past 5 years, all of which are well-maintained and properly operating through the fees charged and maintenance provided by the communities. The Los Gonzales community members want to replicate these successes, as they have seen the beneficial effects of their neighbors’ water systems.



Los Gonzales, Guatemala Water Distribution System

Los Gonzales, Guatemala



Primary focus:
Drinking Water - Households
Secondary focus:
Drinking Water - Community

People Getting Safe Drinking Water


37 families
Females – 0-5years, 16; 5-15years, 30; 16-49years, 28; >49years, 47
Males - 0-5years, 19; 5-15years, 31; 16-49years, 32; >49years 36
From San Jacinto municipality five year plan.

People Getting Sanitation


Schoolchildren Getting Water


People Getting Other Benefits

There are no other benefits for this plan.


Application type:
Start date:
February 1, 2014
Completion date:
February 28, 2015

Technology Used

Municipality and community members have built a horizontal well (normal hand-dug well with concrete casing and horizontal infiltration galleries) close to the intermittent river. They need to build a concrete storage tank near the well, electrically pump the water to the storage tank, gravity feed the water via PVC pipe to a concrete distribution tank (1500 meters away), chlorinate the water, and then build a PVC distribution system of 1800+ meters in five sections to the homes in the community. Chlorination will be done using hypochlorite tablets in a float within the distribution tank.

We helped design and build a similar well-based, chlorinated system in the neighboring community of El Carrizal 5 years ago, and the system is operating properly today (water tested yearly by a local university lab that was funded with another project). The municipality partnered in the start of the Los Gonzales project by constructing a copy of the horizontal well we designed for El Carrizal as the water source. The new well in Los Gonzales is operating effectively and will be able to meet the community’s water needs year-around. The community members provided the manual labor for the well construction.


One phase

Community Organization

The community owns the land. The community will own the system. The community has a trained community development council (COCODE or Consejos Comunitarios de Desarrallo) and a womens organization. The community members will provide all non-technical labor for the project and each family will pay a monthly fee for maintenance of the system. Community members will be trained in how to maintain the system. This includes taking free chlorine measurements (with Hach Chemical Kits) periodically to set the proper chlorine level.

Government Interaction

The San Jacinto municipality leadership and staff are very supportive of the community and of this project. Their personnel will be actively involved in the implementation of the project, as they have been with the three previous systems we helped install in nearby communities.

Ancillary Activities

Training for current and future water testing to make sure that the system is working as planned were explained above as well as training for maintaining the system.

Other Issues

There is no information about other issues currently available for this plan.


Maintenance Revenue

Community members will contribute monthly to a fund to maintain the system. This is similar to the what has been done with prior systems that are working well. The community will own the system. The water at homes will be tested yearly at a lab in the department capital funded with a previous grant. The chlorination level will be tested periodically with free chlorine test kits supplied by Hach Chemical.

Maintenance Cost



The treated water will be tested yearly for harmful biologicals. The water samples will be collected by trained CUNORI University staff. The chlorination level will be tested periodically with free chlorine test kits supplied by Hach Chemical. Community members will be trained in the free chlorine testing.




See attachment



Water for the Americas $3,394
Rotary Clubs and Rotary Foundation $7,000

Community Contribution



Funds Requested




Rotary Involvement and funding transparency
Is the Rotary Club of Chiquimula partnering with a club in the US to obtain funding from the Rotray Foundation? If so who is the club in the US?
Will the Chiquimula Rotary Club provide inspections for a number of years after water systems are installed?

Will all of the funds for the project be managed by the Rotary Club and will they be able to give a final audit of the project to PWE?

Will any of the funds from PW be used by Rotary members for personal expenses such as international travel etc; ?

Do you have an analysis of the water system design which includes the hydraulics of the pipelines; tank size; and distribution flows to insure that the funds will be spent on properly sized water flows (pipe size) and community consumption ( average rural per person use)? Does the municipal planning office have a resident engineer?
Posted by Lynn Roberts, Agua Para La Salud (APLS), on August 20, 2013 at 9:15pm
Thank you for your questions.

The Chiquimula Rotary Club is partnering with the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, CO (and other Rotary clubs) as in all previous water projects in the San Jacinto Municipality. (www.rotarycluboffortcollins.org)

We expect that the Chiquimula Rotary Club in cooperation with the San Jacinto Municipality will be testing the water in the lab we funded at the local university each year, just like they are testing water from projects completed in 2008 and since.
The Rotary Club of Chiquimula will manage the funds for the project in a separate account. The Rotary Foundation requires all receipts and bank statement to be sent in a final report, which will be done on this project. All previous projects have met this standard. An account certifies the statements.
Yes, the project includes funds for approximately two trips by either Rotary Club of Fort Collins or Water for the Americas staff to visit the project. As you can see in the budget, both Rotary and Water for the Americas are investing about a third of the funds (around $10,000 of the approx. $15,000) for this project.
The municipality of San Jacinto has skilled personnel that have worked with the civil engineers and hydrogeologists that are members of Water for the Americas in the past to design the systems that are currently in place. You can see the background of the staff of Water for the Americas at: http://www.waterfortheamericas.org/board.htm

Alan Ashbaugh
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on August 22, 2013 at 1:02pm Submitter Comment
Alan this is the first time I have seen Rotary International give funds for international travel for Rotary members. Is part of your request from PW intended to cover these costs?

In the budget you note management is paid $30.00 an hour. Could you identify this individual? Are funds for this individual included in your fund request?

Would you supply more detail on the pipe suspension bridge such as the length of the bridge; size of concrete anchors for the cable; distance of the anchors from the towers; anchor design; and the size of the cable and pipe?

My experience with block tanks in Guatemala has not been good. Most of these break during any seismic activity. Have you had these tanks reviewed by a civil engineer in the US?

Is the water systems tubing and conduction line flow from the spring designed using the 80 liters per day per person for a 20 year population (68 families)?

Posted by Lynn Roberts, Agua Para La Salud (APLS), on August 22, 2013 at 2:06pm
Rotary clubs do not have any restrictions on paying for trips. For example, many clubs pay for their representatives to attend the International Conferences and members of Rotary student organizations (Interact) to visit international projects when they help fund projects.

The individual could be one of several or a combination of professional engineers from PROTEC. This team has been used in most of our past projects, members always accompany our team members when we visit to plan, inspect and celebrate projects at no charge. They are instrumental in helping to write final reports to the funding organizations and in providing pictures of the projects at different stages.
IDENTITY: PROTEC, Guatemala is a private, specialized in providing technical services - professionals, linked to the planning, implementation and evaluation of projects, technology transfer, infrastructure construction and general consulting services in sustainable development.

PROTEC is inscribed in the register of prequalified consultants with the code 1241, title 1093 at the secretariat of planning and programming-SEGEPLAN presidency. Inscribed with the registration number 354,639 in the book 316 business enterprises and tax identification number 548857-5.

The basic details needed for suspension line over a ravine are span, pipe type and diameter, soil type, material to be used for the anchors (concrete, rubble and mortar masonry, dry-fitted rock, etc.) A spreadsheet that gives the calculations used to determine what you asked can be obtained at our site on PWX under “Calculations……” You can see the anchor and suspension line in the Agua Zarca Water Project PowerPoint presentation downloaded to this site.

We have funded water storage tanks below ground, above ground and ones part way under ground made of concrete and cinder block since 2008 and have had no damage. Yes, engineers have reviewed the plans and construction. You can see pictures of an engineer inspecting a tank in one of our PowerPoint presentations downloaded at our PWX site, the El Carrizal Project.

I do not have that details, but based on previous projects, the system was designed to deliver the amount of water, measured at the end of the dry season, produced by the well with a safety factor built in. Designed to deliver what you expect to get. In one of our PowerPoint presentations at this site there is a picture of a hydrogeologist measuring the water flow from a spring high above the community at the end of the dry season to determine if there is enough water for the current and expected population growth and to help design the size of tanks used to store the water over a days collection period and to design the size of pipe to be used.

Alan Ashbaugh
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on August 23, 2013 at 3:04pm Submitter Comment
Thanks for the information about the "calculations section" on the suspension bridges. Is there a reason that you do not use vertical towers to distribute the load on the cables as shown in the municipal design. The PP´s show only anchors.
I noticed in the Power Points that in one case you were using poured concrete to construct the tanks with wood forms and in this project you were using block with poured concrete in the voids in the blocks. Is there a reason for the change? Do you have horizontal reinforced support such as "U" block with iron and concrete (solaras) to tie into the vertical concrete columns prescribed for earthquake zones?
I also noted in the PPs that all of your exposed pipe at homes and bridges is PVC. We have found this to me a serious maintenance problem in the future due to climate,and vandalism . What has been you experience?

It would be helpful is you could supply the expected water flow into the tank (liters/sec or gallons/min) for this project so that a review of the hydraulics and family water use can be complete.
Posted by Lynn Roberts, Agua Para La Salud (APLS), on August 24, 2013 at 4:18pm
The construction of the tanks in different locations is dependent on the experience of the mason hired to construct the tank.
We have not had to replace and of the exposed PVC pipes at the homes from our earliest installations. Protecting the pipes would be great, but just another cost. We have not had any vandalism. All of the communities that we have installed water systems are very remote and the inhabitants would be very disturbed with vandals and as we have been told when asking about security in the areas, the men are very good with machetes.
Here are the figures of the measurement of the water supply.
En temporada de verano según aforo realizado:
• Caudal Medio Diario:
Qmd=0.40 lt/seg = 6.34 gal/min
• Se estima un Caudal Máximo Diario:
Qmax= 0.60 lt/seg = 9.51 gal/min
Para temporada de invierno no se tiene un aforo realizado pero se estima que sea un 30% mayor al que se obtiene en verano.
Por tales motivos se decidió realizar el tanque de Distribución de 30,000 lts.
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on September 6, 2013 at 2:49pm Submitter Comment
Thanks Alan. This water flow fits within the 80 Liters per person per day for an anticipated doubling of the population in 20 years. This is the a good norm for rural use.

I will send you some information about alternative tank construction between 2000 to 50,000 liters that we have found works very well. We also are willing to train masons, with NGO help, in this construction type so as to standardize design and flexibility of use.
Posted by Lynn Roberts, Agua Para La Salud (APLS), on September 6, 2013 at 3:55pm
In our watershed rehabilitation work we trained about 15 inhabitants in masonry and carpentry with the aid of INTECAP. This was to get them to stop the harmful farming and earn income from other ways. So if asked, we can get INTECAP to train others, Just need the priority and funds. Thanks for the suggestions and information about tank construction.
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on September 6, 2013 at 4:12pm Submitter Comment
One of benefits of peer review is the cross-pollination of ideas. Would Lynn's experience and approach help? I would be interested if WftA would consider his offer to share - compare approaches and then choose one that is best.

Keep us posted if that happens.

Posted by Georgia Davis, Blue Planet Network, on September 16, 2013 at 4:50am
outcome assessment, electrification and funding maintenance

This projects seems like it is well shaped and adapted to the specific context and needs of the beneficiary community. As the Rotary Club of Chiquimula already supported similar interventions in the past years, it would be very interesting to have your feedbacks on the results that have been achieved in El Carrizal for instance, in terms of improvements in beneficiaries’ economic and health status with regards to water-borne diseases.

The project includes an electrical system to pump the water from the well to the storage tank. Does that mean that this hilly area is already equipped with electricity or has this issue to be addressed through another project?

Finally, could you provide some detail on the fees that the community will contribute to maintain the system ? Is there any subsidy scheme for certain families or will every household contribute in the same way? The proposal mentions that some community members will be trained to maintain the system, but will they be paid through the fees to ensure this maintenance work? Will WFTA staff also ensure long-term technical follow-up?

Best wishes

Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 21, 2013 at 1:42pm
Thank you for your questions.
We are currently working on getting results from the clinic in Agua Zarca, that services the past projects and current project area. This is a new requirement of Rotary and will be a part of the report to the Rotary Foundation when the project is complete. We know that the data is there from charts on the walls of the clinic and have asked for the data. We have the health records from San Jacinto in total for several past years from a five year report, but not each community. We also have a current project that will make significant improvements to the clinic.

Yes, all communities in the municipality have electricity. In a couple of cases, our past projects have included getting the electricity to the specific areas. For this project, the power is already where needed.

In our first water project in the San Jacinto Municipality, El Carrizal, we required a written statement about a maintenance fee and families promise to complete the non-technical work for the project. That was because that project was to complete a Government financed project that was not completed due to corruption. The El Carrizal partially completed project was sitting there for three years before we completed it. The El Carrizal community members were concerned that we also would promise but not complete the project, thus the written statement. Part of the statement is shown in the El Carrizal PowerPoint that is attached to our part of the site. Since that first project, we have not required a written promise to collect a maintenance fee. We have left this up to the community development council and to the municipal staff and it has worked.
All partners in our projects in this area, Rotary, Water for the Americas, PROTEC (a registered Guatemala non-profit) and the University in Chiquimula (department capital) intend to continue working in this area for years to come. Our current emphasis is community sustainability, and not just water projects. Our last two large Rotary Global Grants (minimum of $35,000) have focused on agroforestry of coffee and avocados, commercial home gardens, road repair, health clinic improvement, school improvements, job skills training (carpentry, masonry, via INTECAP), etc. All of these were community generated project ideas.

Alan Ashbaugh
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on August 22, 2013 at 1:03pm Submitter Comment
Thank you Alan for the clarifications.
I really like that this project is definitely community-based and give to beneficiaries the responsibility to make the intervention sustainable. and it seems like it has worked in the past projects, so bravo.
I am looking forward to reading comments from other participants.
Posted by Hélène Lefebvre, 1001 fontaines, on August 22, 2013 at 1:19pm
I am happy about new requirement from Rotary; the standard operating procedure is to take a photo before and after and if possible add a single report like a water quality test.

Your plans build on your history, but your two reports do not show any long-term operations. You are more than welcome to put past projects on PWX and track data. Some of taken us up on our offer, others are terrified with the transparency.

I would be more comfortable if the earlier reports included some good observations. For example: do the tanks leak? Simple: fill them up and stop all supply for 12-24 hours and see if the level comes down. Unless concrete tanks are built very well, they will leak.

Other metrics in terms of water quality, contributions, population growth, ... need to measured regularly and plotted over time.

We keep asking for funds to do new projects using the ribbon-cutting ceremony photos. We are successful in raising money for new projects without investing (for our own sake) in seeing if our old projects actually work over a longer period (5 years it seems in your case).

For over 4 decades the water sector has been digging wells and systems with a huge failure rate. The vision of PWX is to dramatically reverse the trend.

Posted by Georgia Davis, Blue Planet Network, on September 16, 2013 at 5:05am
Community buy in and cost
Good morning, It is good to see proposals where the community members understand the need and approach organizations for assistance. I know that with some of our projects, there has been some concern from the beneficiaries with regards to chlorination as they do not care for the taste. Has this been an issue with your projects and if so, how was this addressed?

I also have questions regarding the community payments as asked above. Will look forward to hearing the response to those questions.

Posted by Carolyn Meub, Pure Water for the World, on August 22, 2013 at 2:39pm
We have not heard any complaints about excessive chlorine in the water. However, those complaints probably would have gone to the municipality and not to the Rotary Club or to WFTA. Hach Chemical donated six "Free Chlorine" test kits to us. We have trained the staff of the San Jacinto municipality to use these kits to test for the amount of free chlorine in the water at community homes. The results can be used to control how much water can be sent through the bypass line that picks up the chlorine from the tablets. Here is a link to an document that shows the testing at one of the homes and the training of the staff. We also provided the staff with a document that explains the chlorination process. The link is: http://www.clubrunner.ca/Data/5440/5244/HTML/184110//WaterTestingforWFTAProjectsinGuatemala.pdf
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on August 22, 2013 at 4:36pm Submitter Comment
Number of beneficiaries; fees and maintenance costs ; testing of water quality
Alan, it seems that your based on an approach that has worked well in neighbouring communities. I have a few questions concerning the number of beneficiaries, maintenance costs and testing for water quality.

1. Number of beneficiaries: you estimated that the total number of beneficiaries would be 239 people/around 40 families. If I am interpreting the cost estimates correctly, this would suggest that the cost per beneficiary would be USD 15394 / 239 = USD 64 per beneficiary ? This seems quite high. Am I misunderstanding the numbers , If not, is there a way to give more beneficiaries access to the solution ?

2. Maintenance costs : in the Sustainability section there is a figure of USD 200 for maintenance costs. What period does that cover ?

3. Water quality: it is good that there will be a formal approach to on-going testing of the water quality. What does that testing cover ? Annual testing seems too infrequent for drinking water. Is there a way to conduct more frequent tests of the treated water for bacteriological contamination in order to ensure that it provides the desired health benefits ?

Thank you and best wishes. Rosemary.
Posted by Rosemary O'Mahony, 1001 fontaines, on August 22, 2013 at 7:06pm
239 is the number of members of this rural subsistence farming community. There are no more to be served near this community and/or the water source. The available water is the distance it is from the community and the distribution lines shown in an attachment cannot be shortened. Are you suggesting that because you say the number is too high, that we do not do it? We have been doing water projects in these rural communities for several years with experienced working civil engineers, mechanical engineers, water testing specialists and hydrogeologists and have never heard that there is a number of dollars per beneficiary that is suggested. Or course we are all volunteers and maybe not as close to the literature as we need to be. Maybe you can tell us this source.

This is to suggest that it would be good to spend some money each year and do some preventive maintenance on the system. The $200 is an estimate and the first time we have suggested some preventive maintenance.

I have attached the water testing results for several communities in the San Jacinto area. The first several are of communities where we have installed distribution systems and the last couple are of communities needing water systems. The attachment is called “Water_Testing…..” You can see what is being tested.
We think that the testing of “free chlorine” on a more frequent basis is a good way to make sure that the harmful bio contamination are taken care of is a good way to assure good water. It is free because the kits are donated. Water testing locally is still expensive, but not as much as if it had to be done in the Guatemala capital, 180+ km away.
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on September 6, 2013 at 2:36pm Submitter Comment
Hi Alan,

I don't believe any of the peers will say 'don't do it'. However, i know that funders do look at how much impact their donation makes, and right now they measure impact by number of people.

For funders who raise many, it helps to have a tag line: "$30 brings water to one person for life".

Regarding the $200 for preventative maintenance, what does that cover? You mentioned testing, but i am interested in your maintenance activities.

Posted by Georgia Davis, Blue Planet Network, on September 16, 2013 at 4:33am
Health & Sanitation - plan for toilets
The proposal of Los Gonzales, Guatemala Water Distribution system is based on the previous similar type of project experience. It is good model of public, private, civil society partnership (PPCP).

However we would like to know,

- The potable water problem will be solved through these projects. How does the health and sanitation issues, specially the toilet facilities will be addressed?

- What are the common water borne disease and its intensity in the project area ?

- We would like to know more about the free chlorine measuring kit from Hatch chemicals; the cost, how it is being used? and availability of chemicals in local area?
Posted by Thomas Palgadhmal, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), on August 31, 2013 at 12:19pm
We are very interested in the sanitation issues. But to address them we rely on the interaction of our partners, the Rotary club and municipality staff, to pick what projects to work on and toilet facilities and sanitation issues have not been the highest priorities. In another grant for this year that is in the community development area includes funds to improve the local health clinic, because that was their priority.

Diarrhea is the most common problem with the current water. The municipality has a five year plan that includes improvements in health and the list of health problems and their frequency and goals to improve. The improvements to the health clinic will give us the ability to track and report improvements better.

Hach Chemical has multiple ways to measure total and free chlorine. We used CN-70 kit because several kits were donated. They cost about $74 each, see http://www.hach.com/chlorinetestkits. I have added a short report in the attachments about using the kits and training the muni. staff in their use. The free chlorine kits are used to indicate that chlorine is being used and in the correct amount.
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on September 2, 2013 at 3:56pm Submitter Comment
Water in and Water out
very often introduction of water into every home creates a larger problem after solving the water supply problem. That is the proportional increase in grey and black water left running on the surface of the ground from the kitchen and bathroom activity. Could you give us an idea of how the village will treat this waste water or facilities that may be included in the proposal that confines these health risks to the community? How has this impacted the communities that you have done in the last 5 years?
Posted by Lynn Roberts, Agua Para La Salud (APLS), on August 31, 2013 at 1:39pm
Our projects are based on what the community wants and what funds we can raise. In our Guatemala projects we have not been asked to treat grey water and we usually do not have money in the budget to treat this problem. In a project in El Chile, El Salvador that we did with Engineers Without Borders, a design change asked for by the community freed up some of the grant funds and we put grey water systems in that were based on sunken 55 gallon drums filled with a variety of the appropriate layered materials.
The municipality of San Jacinto is very good at providing training sessions in sanitation, health issues, and other community improvement issues and will help in this type of issue.
As I stated in a previous answer, we are funding some community development issues with another non water related grant, but the choice of the communities in the area is to improve the health clinic, so that is where the next increment of money will go.
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on September 6, 2013 at 2:48pm Submitter Comment
items in budget missing?
Hi Alan,

I noticed that the pump is not included in the budget.

What is the monthly contribution? Will it build up a corpus to replace the pump (in a few years) or other parts that fail? Who would handle the funds and report on them?

Posted by Georgia Davis, Blue Planet Network, on September 16, 2013 at 4:30am
The source of the water. Gilles Corcos Agua Para La Vida
1. The design calls for a holding tank next to the hand dug well connected to the river water by inflitration galleries.
It is mentioned that the river is intermittent. If so it would seem that the holding tank would need to be able to bridge the dry time gap and even for a few weeks that would mean a very large holding tank.How big is that one?
2. Is the river dammed at the location of the inflitration galleries?
3. During high rain season , () are there not sediments which find their way to the holding tank?
4. I assume that the the pump head requirement is pretty small. Is that right?
5. Is there electricity available for the pump at the pumping site near the river?
6. I assume that the 0 coliform tests are the result of the chlorination in the distribution tank. Did you ever test the water before chlorination - an interesting probe for if chlorination runs out for some reason.
7. It is hard to accept a safe drinking water project that does include latrines. I understand that some sponsors don't appreciate latrine importance and we have had to face that problem also. And I am aware of the difficulty of finding financing for a latrines project by itself.
However many rotary clubs do appreciate that need and are willing to help finance it.
Posted by Carmen Gonzalez, Agua Para la Vida (APLV), on September 23, 2013 at 7:17pm
Sorry for incomplete answers, I am on vacation, long planned.
1. The well is a horizontal well, regular hand dug well with concrete casing with PVC slotted pipes extending from casing to extend water available. Well gets ground water which is available after river is dry. In some literature the slotted extensions are called infiltration galleries. Water is pumped to holding tank with existing pump designed by muni staff as was the size of holding tank, tube size to all parts of system as explained earlier.
2. Small dam is near well, just meant by inhabitants to extend water supply before project.
3. The pump has screens. Probably some sediment gets to tanks, which can be cleaned.
4. Pump designed for system.
5. Electriticy at site as explained before.
6. Municipality staff did initial water testing, do not have data. Expected it to be high in coloform as previous small close by communities. Any information about other tests were of completed systems that use chlorination and showed no coliform. Have not suggested that chlorination of the water in this system has been chlorinated and shows no coliform..
7. This project does not include funds for latrines. Families in the community HAVE latrines, though primitive. We do understand the need for better latrines and other sanitation work. Just not in this project.
Posted by Alan Ashbaugh, Water For The Americas, on September 23, 2013 at 11:00pm Submitter Comment


This project is well shaped and provides an appropriate response to the needs and specific constraints of the local community of Los Gonzales. The involvement of the beneficiaries is also a key point of the action.

It would have been instructive - both for experience sharing and to reinforce the present application - to have more information on the actual outcomes of previous similar interventions in terms of health and social impacts among populations, especially as the website of WFTA mentions that a survey has been conducted.
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Overall the project appears to be serving the community in an adequate manner. The presence of a local Guatemalan Rotary Club is a great asset in this project since it is difficult to find Guatemalan Clubs to enter the rural project areas because most of the clubs are in large urban areas.
The introduction of a water testing lab will be a great asset to these communities since the only labs available are in large urban areas. I was not able to review all of the designs for the water system elements because the municipal designs were not in detail and in some instances varied from the photos of actual structures such as the suspension bridges. More detail should be available in proposals. The distribution tank designs seem to be varied with no standardization other than what the skills of the local masons posses.
Dependence on local and / or government designs should be verified
by independent civil engineers since I have seen many failed government designs in 20 years. The use of pvc piping should be discouraged at the point of use or exposure to extend the sustainability of these lines.
Serious consideration should be given to some form of treatment of grey water produced in a village as a result of a water system project. Simple designs for "sumideros", and seepage pits are available on line.
It is normal now in Guatemala to ask the home owners for a cash buy in to a water project for the facilities that exist on each family home site so that they take ownership of at least these personal facilities.
Water projects that have a goal of improving health are strengthened by a consistent effort to change hygiene habits and it appears that some thought has been given to this aspect of the project in the contemplated health clinic improvements ,but not so at the point of use with individual family members where change of habits and attitudes is critical to success to improving hygiene in a community.
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The design details of this project are not very complete, whether the distribution network or the water intake part of the project are concerned. Alan's tendency is to answer by saying the system has been properly designed.
i still have doubts about the ability of the riverbed to retain enough water during the dry season, something which cannot be assessed wihout drawing out of the holding tank at the rate of the village consumption.
i also would have liked more details about the actual nature of the present latrine situation.
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My queries were not all answered, so i have to make assumptions.

Rotarians come generally from a business background where outcomes are measured. And the main fault found with NGOs is that they are not professionally run.

So, its interesting that most Rotary projects have not be measured as the Rotarians measure their work. The 'new requirement of Rotary' for results is hopefully a sign of change needed for not just one report, but ongoing long-term assessment.

This project is managed from far and while the board of WftA looks good, i did not see the team of locals in the staff.

Is PROTEC a non-profit or private? - both descriptions are present. I would be more comfortable if a local non-profit was 'owning' the execution and impact assessment.

The arrangement involves a local club, the university, etc. but where is all the data captured, analyzed, and acted on? One comment mentioned that if there is a chlorine smell, the complaint would have been registered with WfA or the local club. It is then possible that operating issues are likely to get lost in the mix.

I accept that some good work has been done in the past. And it is likely to have yielded good results. I am looking for all the learnings that came out of this not-so-simple arrangement of different organizations in execution and outcome. Things rarely go according to plan and so documenting and evolving is necessary.
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Working in rural areas can present a challenge to implementation of water projects and water systems. It appears that similar water systems have been implemented in other neighboring communities and have been successful to date. It would be good to see what changes or improvements have been made from the first project to this project through monitoring, evaluation.
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It is a good model of PPCP (Public Private Civil Society Partnership) . Wish the very best for the project and recommend it
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