Project update from New York


It’s been awhile since the EWB-NY Usalama team has reached out via our blog – last we checked in, our 2013 implementation trip was complete and we had just received a generous year-end donation from Langan Engineering. Throughout the first part of 2014, we have been communicating with our Usalama contacts and awaiting further word on whether our newly rehabbed and constructed water distribution had yet been connected to the new pressurized government water line that runs along Usalama’s border.

Per recent news from Usalama, KIMAWASCO (for the uninitiated: the Kibwezi-Makindu Water and Sanitation Company) is prepared for Usalama to tap into the government line. For unknown reasons, the government line is not currently at design pressure, and may therefore have difficulty providing Usalama’s tank and distribution system with the volume of water that it needs. KIMAWASCO and EWB-NY are working to uncover the cause and effects of this issue and meanwhile taking the steps necessary to connect the two lines, including our funding of the purchase of valves, sockets, and tee connections.

One possibility for interim operation in the case of low government line flow would be for Usalama’s water kiosks 1 and 2 to draw off the existing colonial line, as is the current case, and for Usalama’s new water tank (constructed September 2013) to fill off of the government line and feed kiosks 3, 4, and 5.

In very good news, KIMAWASCO has agreed to allow Usalama to move their water meter closer to the town marketplace, which is downstream from the portion of the colonial water line that is frequently damaged by elephants. This means that the community will no longer pay for the water lost to these almost nightly incidents.

The EWB-NY Usalama team is currently preparing for our next trip, which will take place in summer 2014 and follow the startup of Usalama’s rehabbed water system. Our team members will assess system performance, implement kiosk-based chlorine water treatment, troubleshoot any initial issues, provide the community with copies of our Operations and Maintenance Manual, and educate and train Usalama about its system via specialized workshops.

The O&M Manual contains numerous essential bits of info in an easy-to-understand package; within its pages a water kiosk operator can find a troubleshooting guide, as-built pictures, a safety section, a maintenance checklist, chlorine dosing instructions, important record-keeping tasks, and a guideline to holding monthly operation team meetings. A novel crack monitoring guide is included, which will help the community to diagnose and remedy any different types of cracking that they may observe in the new water tank, either during initial loading or after being filled for a long period of time.

In other news, we had a successful and classy fundraiser at Moore Brothers Wine Company, at 33 East 20th Street, in February of this year. It was a night of mingling, learning about EWB-NY Usalama, musical performance from the duo Charming Disaster, and learning about various styles of wine from our gracious hosts. A very special thanks goes out to all that provided items for the fundraising raffle, which included artwork prepared by and provided by artists Lisa Fontana and Darcie Hodge, the cousin of our very own EWB-NY Usalama teammate Judy Hodge.

For now, the team is preparing for our next trip and continuing to contact those on the ground in Usalama in an effort to get our system up and running as designed. The next few weeks are pivotal, and hopefully our team will find the system operating without a hitch when they touch down this summer. Please stay tuned to our progress, whether it is by attending our team meetings, contacting us, or taking a jaunt down to Usalama yourself. Every bit of support counts!


Until next time,

EWB-NY Usalama

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