La Enea: An Ambitious New Water System

The "Capture point" at the water source at La Enea

I got to visit the very ambitious water project being built at the village of La Enea, which involves capturing the water from a creek high on the other side of a significant valley, bringing it down across the river and then back up the other side of the valley to the village.

This is a tremendously ambitious project, the biggest Agua para la Vida has ever undertaken. It involves the capture of part of a stream instead of just a little spring (and might require chemical treatment) and involves something like 37 kilometers of piping, seven kilometers for the basic water delivery and the rest for the distribution system.

And the water system will be a tremendous boon to this community, because they currently have to haul their (poor quality) water from a stream four kilometers away. So most either walk with a heavy load of water or perhaps load a burro with a big load. Imagine the time it would take out of your day if you had to personally carry all the water you needed for drinking, cooking, and clothes washing from a source two and a half miles away.

My visit was with an entire team from APLV, and there was a major status meeting with the entire community. Most of the meeting was about making sure that the proper amount of community labor was organized, since the community provides all the unskilled labor, as much as 50 man-days of hard labor per family. In the current stage of the project most of the work is using a pick and shovel to dig meter-deep trenches for the piping through rocky, rocky soil.

We left the APLV skilled water technicians there when we returned, since they were going to spend the week working with the community laborers to make another push on the distribution line. These young people are so talented and impressive. They almost all come from campesino homes all over Nicaragua and have graduated from the Potable Water Technical School that APLV runs and are now directing and overseeing impressive engineering ventures. All of them would be staying the week in very simple accomodations provided by the local community, some a bit more rustic that most of you would appreciate. But there was no complaining from this talented group.