Project 3: El Romerillo, Ecuador – 2018-Present

Our chapter received approval to adopt this project in February 2018. Romerillos  is a community of roughly 700 people twelve miles northwest of the active Cotopaxi Volcano. The community resides more than 11,000 feet above sea level in the Ecuadorian Andes Highlands. Due to this elevation, the only water sources they have access to are springs and runoff from the volcano. In 2015, the volcano became active and ejected ash for several months, affecting water sources drastically. Locals had no reliable water source for several months, and their crops and livestock were lost. After the eruption concluded the community water board paid a consultancy to to carry out a hydro-geological study of the surrounding area. It was found that the ground beneath the community is favorable for groundwater production. The community desires that a well be installed since groundwater will not be affected by future eruptions of the Cotopaxi.

Location

The largest city near the community is Machachi, with an estimated population of roughly 40,000 residents. It is roughly fifteen to twenty minutes’ drive away.

 

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!  

Assessment Trip January 2019

In January 2019, Mizzou EWB made our first assessment trip to Romerillos. The travelers were split into two groups: the technical team and the sociological team. The technical team traveled alongside community members to four main water sites and gathered data on water quality, maintenance procedures, water storage tank construction, and surrounding geography. The sociological team established relationships with current community leaders, most important among them the water board members. They are responsible for administering the storage, distribution, and utilization of all water sources in Romerillos. The sociological team then went home to home and interviewed the citizens of Romerillos on their water use and health issues caused by unclean water. This information was compiled and is currently being used by our chapter to inform our solutions. For a daily journal from the technical team, please visit this link: 
Technical Team Journal