Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Initial Meeting with the Water Committee

Sunday, January 13 was our first night in NSCI and the night when we held the week's kick-off meeting with the Water Committee.

The agenda for the meeting.

A highlight of the meeting was an exercise we completed with the Water Committee to shape the perspective the Water Committee had on the current status of the project and to identify obstacles which the project currently faces and would face in the future.

A Water Committee member's sketch of the Puwalk'ox system.
A sketch which Sandy drew to illustrate the high-pressures of the system.
Nicole wrote about the meeting in a draft of the team's log below:
Later that evening, a meeting was held with EWB-USA Rutgers and the Water Committee of NSCI. After brief introductions from both EWB-USA Rutgers and the Water Committee, the meeting began. Manuel, the head of the Water Committee, began by saying there has been miscommunication among the people involved with the project. David Tanzi, the group's professional mentor, began by giving a background on the project, beginning with the signing of the MOU in March 2011.
Our sketch of the system.
A map of the responsibilities outlined in the project's Memorandum of Understang.
The repairs and replacements of the PVC pipeline with galvanized iron, and the hiring of a contractor to make said repairs and replacement. Upon review of the plans done by the contractor after he completed a topographic analysis of the terrain, EWB-USA Rutgers sent a list of some recommendations to be included in the plans for implementation. It was also mentioned that EWB-USA Rutgers has been in constant contact with the Water Committee and the contractor about the progress of the repairs. It was hoped that the repairs would have been completed by December of 2012, but there was obvious difficulties that prolonged start-up. 
Manuel then continued by explaining that the Municipality is paying approximately Q260,000 for the repairs. The Water Committee has been providing manual labor, for which they have spent between Q2,000-Q3,000 for transportation and various other expenses. One of the concerns expressed by the Water Committee was whether the engineer was using those funds for materials - he had been using old materials for part of the repairs. 
They also explained that they received the list of recommendations from EWB-USA but are unsure as to whether the contractor used any of them in construction. The Water Committee had also been told that repairs would be done by January 14, 2013. 
After this, the travel team decided to do an exercise with the Water Committee. It was asked that they write down or draw their thoughts on the current status of the repairs. The results were very telling, as everyone had very different answers - further confirming Manuel's initial statement of miscommunication within the group. Some of the feedback included "very slow work", "there is only 1 pipeline when before there was 2", "concerns on the air passage", and one mentioned that the "work was 99% complete". Another prompt given by EWB-USA Rutgers to the Water Committee was to write or draw their thoughts on what is affecting the project now. The answers included, "communication", "community manual labor", and "transformer near the lower pump station is ready to fall". Another prompt was about future problems they may face. The answers included, "defective air pass cable", "installation of elbows", and "payment of electricity". 
The travel team also asked for some initial thoughts on the potential of disinfection system for the community. The Water Committee answered honestly, saying that people within the community are accustomed to boiling and would probably not want to change. 
Some meetings and presentations were scheduled for the remainder of the week, and a dinner was served to both EWB-USA and the Water Committee by Martina.
If you have a question, come to the comments!

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