Volunteers from Aqua and Villanova University’s Engineering Service Learning Program students and faculty returned to Nicaragua and Panama last week, continuing their work to provide engineering resources and water infrastructure expertise for key water improvement projects in the two countries.
The group returned to Waslala, Nicaragua and Panama’s Wacuco region to provide hands-on water quality expertise and foundational support to improve water infrastructure. This partnership is part of Aqua’s “Ripple Effect,” the company’s continued commitment to making a positive impact on water, the environment and in communities. The last time the group traveled together was in August 2016.
Several areas comprise the Ripple Effect including volunteering, Aqua’s Charitable Trust, and knowledge sharing, according to Kimberly Joyce, vice president of regulatory, government and external affairs.
“Our partnership with Villanova University allows our employees to volunteer their time and expertise to help shape future engineers, while making a real difference for communities that need clean running water,” Joyce said.
Aqua Pennsylvania’s Jeff Bickel and Aqua Illinois’ Colton Janes went to assist VESL in Nicaragua to celebrate the culmination of last year’s capital project and assist in troubleshooting a non-functioning water well located near a Waslala school.
Janes was excited to work with Villanova students and provide his expertise.
“I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with Villanova students and taking on a mentor role,” said Janes prior to departure. “I think it’s going to be great to bounce ideas off of the students and find a solution together. Anytime we are able to give the essential resource of water to someone who has to work for it, or go through a hardship to maintain it, is a great opportunity for us – especially when we can help lead students looking to make a difference, as well.”
The goal of the Panama project is to provide guidance to students on designing a water treatment solution for the existing system, which services 800 people and is expanding to add a school with 125 students. The team evaluated the system demand, water quality and yield of a newly installed shallow well. The end-state will be a solution that integrates the well into the existing system and provides safe water to the systems existing residents and to the new school.
“These projects help Aqua employees lend their knowledge, immerse themselves in a new culture and make a positive impact in the world,” Joyce said. “
You can click here to read the story about Aqua’s 2016 trip.