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Building a Water Distribution System in Nicaragua

By Colleen Kearney Rich on July 18, 2016


The Mason student organization Engineers for International Development is also traveling to Nicaragua this summer. Led by civil engineering major Rony Avalos, the group spent part of spring semester designing a new water distribution system for an orphanage that supports 300 children, and planning for the trip to install it. This is the group’s sixth trip to Nicaragua, although the projects have been in different locations throughout the country.

Mason Engineers for International Development

Mason Engineers for International Development designed a water distribution system for an orphanage in Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of EfID

“We had to figure out where the problems were,” says Avalos, who has been president of the organization for three years. “The orphans are only receiving water for about two hours out of the day.” And that water is of poor quality. Avalos says the distribution system pipes are too small and are broken in many places, and the concrete water storage tower is crumbling.

Seven students and two faculty members, including the group’s technical adviser and Mason adjunct faculty member Matthew Doyle, director of Engineers for International Development, made the trip.

In addition to the planning and construction, the student engineers also raised money to purchase the needed supplies. The group often receives support from the department and the Provost’s Office, but this year they had $7,500 to add to their budget thanks to an award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying for their successful service projects in Nicaragua and the partnership between students and professional engineers.


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