The University of Cincinnati student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB UC) was a clear favorite among voters in the Penetron International’s Fall 2017 EWB-USA Grant Award Contest, winning by a margin of more than 400 votes. The contest’s other two finalists were the University of Wisconsin Madison EWB Chapter and the Oregon Institute of Technology EWB Chapter.
EWB UC will receive a $5,000 grant towards their project. The group has been traveling to Burere, Tanzania, working to help provide a solar-powered pump system that will draw water from an existing well and provide a clean source of drinking water for the community, directly affecting approximately 6,000 people.
The community of Burere, Tanzania is in dire need of a clean source of water. The population of about 3,000 people currently uses Lake Victoria as their main source of water due to its reliability throughout rainy and dry seasons. However, many illnesses, such as Schistosomiasis, originate from the waters of Lake Victoria and are very prevalent in Burere. Although the community has an existing well, which is the only clean source of water in Burere, much of the population remains unable to use it. The well is in a remote part of the village, making it inaccessible to many. The well is also hand-powered, which makes using it time intensive and causes extensive wait times during the dry season. By implementing a pump and tank system to this pre-existing well and increasing accessibility, EWB UC can assist the community in practicing safe drinking and water collection habits. Reducing incidence of disease would result in an overall healthier community and will increase overall productivity and quality of life for its members.
With this grant, EWB UC will implement phase one of their water system design to start providing clean water to the community. This phase includes overseeing contractor installation of solar panel system and electric pump in existing borehole well, installing the water storage tank at the well site and connecting this to the pump, this phase also includes making necessary preparation to allow for system expansion in a later trip.
When contest results were announced on Friday, EWB UC said, "We would like to thank everyone who voted and shared to help us win first place in Penetron's grant competition! We cannot express enough how much your support and efforts are appreciated! Thanks to Penetron, and with the help of all of you, we are one GIANT step closer to helping the people of Burere get access to clean drinking water."