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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: July 28, 2003
Volume 38, Number 24

Water resources class helps Hondurans

By Steve Carr

For a third year, students in UNM’s Water Resources program traveled to rural Honduras to work with activist Alex del Cid Vásquez and businessman Rolando López.
Students and villagers helped provide water to a Honduras village.

Students Kerry Jones, Cindy Noland, Danielle Shuryn, Treva Pierce, Meaghan O’Rourke, Amy Louise, Eric Robinson, Matthew Lane, Kathy Brown and instructors Michael E. Campana and Michele Minnis worked with del Cid and the villagers of Nueva Florida to develop a safe, reliable water supply for 40 families living in the village. Students Don Duncan and Hani Iwhish provided support from Albuquerque.

“The students never cease to amaze me with their hard work and high spirits in spite of primitive conditions,” said Campana. “The villagers and the students forged close bonds and indeed, many tears were shed on both sides when it came time to depart. Some students are already planning on returning to conduct work for their master’s projects.”

Nueva Florida is located in the Sierra de Omoa, a rugged mountain range northwest of San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital of Honduras. The village is typical of others in which del Cid loves to work – remote, rugged and challenging, where government agencies and non-governmental organizations fear to tread.

Students and villagers built a concrete dam on a stream, cleared a site for a 5,000-gallon water tank, and laid a 1.5 inch galvanized iron (GI) pipe from the dam to the tank. Servicio Autonomo Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (SANAA), the Honduran government agency responsible for water supply, provided the GI pipe. Ingeniero Denis Gutierrez, the head of rural water for SANAA’s northern division, visited the site to inspect the dam and pipeline and was impressed with the work.

In addition to manual labor, students also conducted surveys of a number of households.

The program represents a partnership among del Cid, UNM’s Water Resources Program and SANAA to bring safe, clean water to remote rural villages. Next year’s project village will be Santa Theresa, which is near the Guatemalan border.

The Water Resources Program, anonymous donors and Intel Foundation funded the trip.