Up the Jungle Trail to the Headwaters

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Texoxingales is in dire straits for drinkable water.  Their community water source, a nearby mountain stream, has shrunk as the community population has grown, and with summer approaching, they are in crisis mode.  The wife of the Water Board president says her house has been without water for 5 or 6 days, and things are getting worse.

The community has located a different source of water, higher up a different ravine on the heavily forested mountainside, flowing large quantities of water from what appears to be an uncontaminated region.  They discussed it with us in January, describing how they could solve their problem for many years by installing a water pipeline from the source of water located far up the mountain.  They proposed bringing the water to an existing water tank.  They asked if we could help by purchasing the materials; they would provide all necessary labor.

In February, Dane Wood trekked up the hill with a local guide to check out the source.  His report-back indicated that the total rise could be as much as 500 feet, which would generate a static pressure of water exceeding the burst strength of PVC piping generally used for water systems of this type in Honduras. 

The true extent of elevation change was crucial to specifying the right type of pipe and deciding whether and where to add what’s called a “pressure break” to reduce that excess water pressure.  So this week Allen took the same trip–albeit slower and with some rest stops–with a GPS to get a closer fix on the location of the water source, the path of the proposed water line to the storage tank, and the elevation drop from source to tank.  This Google Earth image shows the waypoints of the trip from the school yard to the source.

Although the ups and downs of the walking path are many and large, the net elevation drop from source to tank is only about 350 feet.  A pressure break is planned, allowing the use of less expensive standard-strength pipe rather than high-pressure pipe.

Based on these findings, a donor has offered to purchase materials and the community has agreed to provide all the labor at no cost to us.  They are eager to move ahead with this work to bring water back to their families.