The current water project has a well head that is approximately 1200ft above sea level. The community which it serves is about 200ft above sea level. The well head serves three distinct communities. The main draw on the well (a 4” in pipe) goes down the hill to Cap Haitien. This water line is maintained by the city. The next two communities are served by an association of the people who live in the area. The people who have voting power in the association are “elected” by the larger community. This association manages the 2 miles of pipe from the well head to each of the distribution locations. They collect 5 goude (less than 15 cents) per 5 gallon bucket Monday through Saturday, and provide the water free of charge on Sundays (typically the day people do their wash so they have a much greater need for water.) The association uses the money collected to repair the pipes, extend the pipes to new communities and to build addition cisterns and distribution points. The money also serves as a sort of community aide program. When people die and the family can’t bury them, or if there are sick children or other similar problems, the assciations provides funds to help them out. The January project replaced a large section of stolen pipes and provided the tools necessary to bury the pipe to protect it and keep it from being stolen. It also went to replace some pipe that was inadequate sized (it was PVC schedule 40, versus the schedule 80) With the new pipe the storage capacity was increased ~3 fold. This additional storage will help during the drier months.
The large drop in elevation provides us the opportunity to generate electricity from the water without disrupting the rest of the water project. While there are many types of micro-hyrdo generating plants available, I’m most familiar with the Pelton system. The plan will be to put the plant in line with the distribution pipes in a location where we can secure it and have a reasonable expectation that it won’t get stolen. There are many different sizes of plants, but to test out the plan, we will install a 2.5Kwatt plant. We will also install a distribution system to make sure that it is safe and allows for the tracking of the which circuit uses the electricity. The power can be sold to the people in the community much like the water. The profits can go to the water projects or other civic projects that are currently underway (paving the street, digging latrines). There is also a hotel nearby that could provide a way to create new money for the community. In other words, when the communities buys the water/electricity it is just recycled within the community. However, if the hotel purchases the electricity it would be new money into the local economy. The trade-off between new money and helping out the local people will be determined by the association.