Boqueron Arriba Aqueduct Project – Panama

Boqueron Arriba, Salamanca District, Colon Province, Panama

Community Description
Boqueron Arriba is a small subsistence farming community located within Chagres National Park. The majority of the 120 residents live below the poverty line.

In December of 2010, heavy rains produced flooding and landslides, resulting in the displacement of families, loss of crops and livestock, and significant damage to the aqueduct. The damages to the water supply exceed the small savings the aqueduct commission has at its disposal.

The intake for the current aqueduct is located in a stream approximately 250 meters above the town of Boqueron Arriba. It consists of a concrete box built into a rock outcrop within the stream. The concrete box measures approximately 5 feet by 5 feet and has a depth of approximately 3 feet.

The upstream side of the box at one point contained two steel screens of different sizes to prevent rapid sedimentation inside of the box. However, this screen has corroded and is no longer in service. The downstream side of the box has two 3” PVC cleanouts, located near the bottom of the box, and a 3” PVC connection aqueduct located approximately 1.5 feet above the cleanouts. The top of the box has an entrance so that the box can be cleaned out if it fills up with sediment. The concrete cover to the entrance has been destroyed.

Water flows from the box through a 3-inch PVC approximately 2 kilometers to a supply tank. The supply tank is above ground, constructed of concrete and contains a manhole entrance for cleaning activities. Water enters high on the tank and exits low on the opposite side. The capacity of the tank is reportedly 10,000 gallons.

From the supply tank, water flows through 3-inch PVC tubing into the community. There are two branches. One branch flows south towards the school, while the other branch flows north. Tubing sizes decrease from 3 inches to 2 inches as they get further away from the supply tank. Most homes connect to the water mains using ½-inch PVC tubing.

About 5 years ago, a slow filter, designed by the Panamanian Ministry of Health to filter the water before it enters the storage tank, was built. However, it was not put online because of the inability of the community to pay for the necessary materials. To see the plans, CLICK HERE.

The slow filter consists of two filter chambers which are used independently. When one chamber is shut down for cleaning, the other can be used. One chamber measures 1.5 meters wide, 3.0 meters long, and 2.8 meters high. The chambers are constructed of concrete and they share a common inlet. Water enters the chambers from the inlet high on the wall of the filter. The water then percolates through 1-meter thick layer of fine sand, followed by a 0.2-meter thick layer of #5 stone, then into perforated 2-inch PVC laterals which are laid in a 0.2-meter thick layer of #4 stone. Once the water reaches the 2-inch PVC laterals it is conveyed through a 2-inch tube low on the filter wall into a second chamber. Head pressure from the filter causes the water in this second chamber to rise to a level of about 2 meters where it then flows into a standpipe and leaves for the storage tank.

Project Description
This project is to repair the damaged aqueduct and complete the slow filter system to establish a safe water supply for Boqueron Arriba.

Under the direction of the local aqueduct commission, all labor for this project will be provided by community volunteers. This includes labor to reroute portions of the aqueduct (to avoid excessive pressure buildup), to avoid unnecessary stream crossings, to install new tubing, and to complete the slow filter.

In addition, the # 4 and #5 sand will be donated by community members. Transportation of materials will be donated by the local government.

Project funds will be used to purchase materials to repair damaged portions of the aqueduct and completion of the slow filter system. Some of the funds will be used to repair the concrete box at the head of the aqueduct system. Necessary work includes the replacement of the screens and the construction of a new concrete cover for the water intake. These two repairs will help to prevent rapid sedimentation of the box, and will result in a more consistent flow of water, and less time cleaning out the box.

Materials for the work on the concrete box include 2 steel screens (4.5 feet by 2.5 feet), concrete, and rebar.

Materials needed to complete the slow filter consist of 90 feet of PVC tubing, associated unions, angles, and valves, concrete, and fine grain sand, and materials for constructing sand sifters.

Project Impact
120 people will benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Sean Strong

This is a tremendously effective project that will have an immediate impact on the lives of the members of the community. We are pleased to be able to come forth with resources, in the way of materials, to assist this community faced with the daunting task of restoring a water source after the crisis without the financial ability do so on their own.

A lot is being accomplished with a small amount of money because the existing infrastructure is being utilized. The long-delayed purification of water through the slow filtration system will be a needed addition. Contributing all of the labor to their project, the community has a vested interest in maintaining it into the future.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has been fully funded, through the generosity of the Elmo Foundation.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify the Peace Corps Volunteer of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by the PCV and/or those of other PCVs in the country of service.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.