Project 3: El Romerillo, Ecuador – 2018-Present

Our chapter received approval to adopt this project in February of 2018. El Romerillo is a community of roughly 700 people who happen to live very close to an active volcano.  The community is located in a high part (11319 feet) of the Ecuadorian Andes Highlands with few nearby water sources. Due to the elevation of the community, the only water source they have access to is runoff from the volcano.  In 2015, the Cotopaxi volcano was active and ash erupted for several months affecting the water sources. In the eruptions, people stayed for several months without water, and all the crops and animals were lost. After this eruption event, the water board paid a consultancy to carry out an underground water evaluation study using electro vertical studies, but the results showed that the water is more than 80 meters deep and it is not yet assumed that is consumable. At the moment, the traditional system is enabled but without any improvement in the catchment system. Our plan is to work together with Engineers in Action on how to protect the water sources. We will also be working alongside the local government in Ecuador, which happens to be the President of the Parrish. 

Location

The largest city and close to the community is called Machachi with an estimated population of about 40,000 inhabitants. It is between 15 to 20 minutes from the community.

Community Needs

Our goal for this community is to design a water filtration system or a protection system that will be able to remove or keep the ash from a volcano out of the water if this volcano were to erupt again. The community has already stated that they would not like to drill for a water source due to the cost of drilling and we do not know if that water can be consumed. The current system in place is sufficient for as long as the volcano remains dormant. The Cotopaxi volcano is a very active volcano (ranked 26th in the world for activeness). The volcano has had more than 50 eruptions since 1738 and has not had a big eruption in 70 years. 

We will begin taking assessment trips during the 2018-2019 school year. This will give us a better understanding of the situation in Ecuador and will give us the measurements and things we need to properly help this community!