Engineers Without Borders – San Diego Professional Chapter is working to provide clean, potable water for the community of Chakicherla Pedda Patapu Palem (CPPP), Andhra Pradesh, India – home to 4000 people and located 1 km west of the Indian Ocean in the southeastern part of the country. The community’s economy is underdeveloped and based largely on fishing, prawn farming, and day laboring, with wages averaging about $2 a day. Drinking water has historically been obtained from hand pumps at wells located in the center of the community. The women and girls of the community spend an average of 45 minutes a day walking to and from these wells to obtain water, which contains bacteriological contamination and excessive ocean salinity.
The San Diego Professional chapter has made a total of 6 visits to the community over the last 7 years, incrementally improving their relationship with the community and the community’s water infrastructure on each trip. A very strong strategic partnership has been established with a non-profit rural development organization located in Andhra Pradesh, ASSIST. Water usage and infrastructure in the community has been thoroughly studied, and numerous possible improvements have been analyzed and compared, drawing on expertise from engineering and medical professionals. Improvements have included the installation of new hand pumps at the seashore where the fisherman work and a new pipeline with tanks and taps that runs the length of the community.
In October 2011, a 2000 liter per hour Reverse Osmosis water treatment facility was commissioned in the community. Four members of the San Diego Professional Chapter spent 3 weeks in CPPP overseeing operational commencement, performing engineering due diligence on the plant’s structural and mechanical components, and working with ASSIST to ensure the long-term financial, environmental, and social sustainability of the community’s water infrastructure. The traveling team also trained and worked alongside the plant’s two full-time operators, who are also residents of CPPP.