Water Resources + Purification

Constructing a new fresh water well

In June 2004, UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering PhD student Jeremy Rode and Baja Project completed a comprehensive water system which connected to every household in El Barril. The system included a pump system at the main well with a generator in a protective structure and float switch. This project involved great community participation; in fact, the team reported that they had so much support, both in number of volunteers and in motivation and energy, that they actually completed the bulk of the system well ahead of schedule.

Due to arising contamination concerns over water purity, the Baja Project consultants installed a pre-sediment filter in 2005. Through collaboration with the Mexican government and the people of El Barril, the Baja Project helped to secure a water purification system for the entire town and a generator to ensure more constant power supply.

Unfortunately, the water tower pump distribution has fallen into disrepair in the last few years. While the purification system can still be used, the water must first be pumped from another well and brought to the purification center, where it is then stored in barrels for consumption.

The Baja Project continues to take regular samples of the purified water to test for purity at Scripps lab at UC San Diego.  BP consultants are also supporting community members to submit government grants for funding for a new community water tower and larger storage tank in order to be able to use the system once again. The community has expressed a desire for a windmill to pump water directly from the well into a large deposit in order to keep water supply more constant, and have also discussed the possibility of investing in a solar-powered water pump to transfer water directly to the new water tower. Baja Project consultants are currently working closely with community members and several organizations in San Diego to gain practical and budgetary knowledge of these types of projects in order to ensure that any future water project would be appropriate for the specific needs of El Barril.