Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Effort to Develop a Groundwater Supply in Nicaragua

On February 2, 2013 I will be traveling to Siuna, Nicaragua with the Charlottesville, Virginia based "The Building Goodness Foundation" (BGF) participating in an effort to develop a groundwater supply for a hospital. I am humbled (and flattered) to have been chosen as one of a team of five volunteers from Charlottesville working on this project.

My responsibilities will include "logging" the well cuttings (describing the geology, minerology, discrete water zones, etc), screen the water for contaminants, work with the drillers regarding casing length, total depth and pump depth setting (if we are fortunate to hit some water bearing zones). I intend to conduct a limited pump test and then collect the appropriate samples for laboratory analysis- But more on that in another Blog.

BGF has teamed with the Non-Government-Organization (NGO), Bridges to Communities (BTC) to restore clean water to the Siuna hospital that serves approximately 200 out patients a day.

For those of us who were assembling spitballs and twisting paper clips during geography class, the image below identifies Nicaragua's location on the Earth-(credit to GoogleEarth) :

And here is a closer look in relationship to some landmarks we are all familiar with from Nations on Line

Siuna is situated in the Region Autónoma Atlántico Norte (RAAN). The reader can find a link here describing this political region of Nicaragua.

It was described to me as a "frontier town" by one of the participants of this trip: cowboys on horses riding through the streets, etc. As described, the town is located in Northern Nicaragua- the image on the right shows its relative location in this region of the country. This map was "borrowed"-without permission (yet)- from a study I found on line that was conducted by some Dartmouth students in 2002. This interesting blog decribes some of the concerns about "heavy metals" that may be present from both natural and human-induced sources.

I hope to update this work several times while in the country and I also hope people feel free to comment. Those with experience in drilling water supply wells in the vicinity of mining regions-please do not hesitate to add your advice.