Tambanal-Ayaloma, Ecuador

An example of a part of the existing water distribution system. Most of the community does not have access to this infrastructure, with roughly 1/3 of the houses' systems having been damaged or destroyed.

About Tambanal-Ayaloma

In the Fall of 2021, EWB-Pitt partnered with the communities of Tambanal and Ayaloma, located in the south-center of the Ecuadorian Andes.

Currently, the communities struggle with consistent access to clean water because their existing system has fallen into disrepair. As a result, many individuals carry water in 10-liter containers up steep hills to get their daily water. Most community members do not participate in water treatment, which leads to several preventable water-borne diseases and reduced quality of life. These illnesses have a particular impact on infant and child mortality. 

The communities are led by a legally recognized water board, which was formed with the assistance of the NGO, Institutos Ecologistas. The Water Board is making strides in expense reporting and quality management procedures that will help make for a smooth and sustainable collaboration. Approximately  200 people spread through more than 28 homes will be directly impacted by this project.

Our Partnership

The communities first reached out to EWB Pitt in August of 2021, requesting the help of our chapter in designing and constructing a water collection, treatment, distribution, and storage system. In late September of 2021, the project was officially approved, allowing us to begin work. Since then, we have established a strong relationship with community members, their leadership, the non-government organization (NGO) Institutos Ecologistas, and the municipal government of Chillanes. 

In the Spring of 2022, EWB Pitt partnered with the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter (PPC) of EWB to collaborate on this project. The teams have worked jointly since, coordinating with our in-country NGO Institutos Ecologistas. These partners provide on-ground coordination, preliminary water testing, and capture photos and videos of key sites.

In December of 2022, a team of five PPC members and three EWB Pitt members travel to Tambanal and Ayaloma on an assessment trip to collected technical, public health data, and build our relationships with our in-country partners. Following the assessment trip, we have been working on our system design components for intaking the water, treating it, and distributing it to each home. 

We are finalizing the designs for our project now, and are looking forward to returning to Tambanal and Ayaloma in August 2024 for the first implimentation trip of the project! 

Travel team members completed an activity called Visual Voices with the children of both communities. In this activity students were asked to draw in response to the question, "What makes your community special?" This data was analyzed to inform public health education efforts by our project team.

Project Timeline

Assessment (Sept. 2022 - Jan. 2023)

In the Fall of 2021, the project team prepared for an assessment trip to the communities of Tambanal and Ayaloma. During the pre-assessment phase, the team creates a timeline of work for the assessment trip, coordinates the logistics of the travel, and does preliminary analysis through conversations with community leaders and the local NGOs. This phase ended in December of 2022 when the travel team visited our partner communities to conduct the assessment trip.

The assessment trip took place from December 28th to January 6th, 2023. The eight-person travel team consisted of three student members and five Pittsburgh Professional Chapter members, who met with community leaders and members, obtained baseline data about their water sources, surveyed the pre-existing health practices and health beliefs of the community members, and built a strong relationship with the community and leaders. 

Alternatives Analysis (Jan 2023 - June 2024)

The valuable information that was collected on the assessment trip by the travel team was compiled in a Post-Assessment report and used to kick-off the alternatives analysis. During this time, we have analyzed multiple design options for the system and iterated based on the community's feedback. Our design has three primary components: the intaking of the water, the sanitation/treatment of the water, and the tanks that will be used to break the pressure as it builds with dropping elevation. We have selected the design for each component of the system,  and are now creating the technical drawings in CAD for each component and fundraising to support our next trip. Shown on the right are some of the design options we have selected for the system.

Implementation (August 2024 - ongoing)

In August, we will return to the community to build the first phase of three for the system. For this phase, we will install two of the intake systems as well as the chlorinator, and the first of the break tanks. We will also spend time collecting additional health data, and working with the community to expand their understanding of water treatment and sanitation practices.

Chlorinator and Intake system initial drawings