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Honduras: Technology design and evaluation to improve water quality in a sustainable way

Intern: Brenda Solórzano Cuesta, Environment and Development

Brenda did her internship as a member of a research team of the Agua Clara project, a program of the Civil and Environmental Engineer Department at Cornell University in the U.S. Agua Clara plants work with gravity as a source of energy. They are built with local materials adapted to any community’s needs. This low-cost technology has been successfully implemented in Honduras, Nicaragua and India, and helpful in guaranteeing communities’ access to clean water.

In Honduras, in cooperation with Water for the People (APP), 18 water plant treatment centers have been built. During the first weeks of January 2020, a group of professionals from the Agua Clara project visited several treatment centers. Brenda participated in these site visits, which allowed her to learn about the Agua Clara operations. She evaluated water treatment processes alongside the team, and she devised solutions to help improve performance. She engaged with Agua Clara plant operators as well as with the water committees in the individual communities they visited. This first-hand experience impressed upon Brenda the significant impact Agua Clara has had on the development of rural areas across Honduras.

Brenda was part of the research team at the Agua Clara laboratory, where she worked in technology design and evaluation to improve water quality, Open source software was used to develop experiments in the reduction of organic compounds. Brenda used algorithm programming and specialized laboratory equipment to design and manufacture water treatment technology. Brenda was engaged in solution-seeking for problems related to secure watersheds, thereby helping to guarantee communities clean water from their faucets. Agua Clara offered her the opportunity to develop a sustainable approach using engineering tools to solve challenges to accessing good quality drinking water.

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