Next Steps in St. Lucia: Water System at the Marian Home for the Eldery

Friday, January 26, 2018

Since 2015, Engineers Without Borders teams have designed and implemented improvements the domestic water system at the Marian Home in Castries, St. Lucia.  An efficient and effective domestic water system is a critical element for the good care that the Carmelite sisters provide for the Home's residents. The system includes rainwater catchment, solar hot water systems, and a supply from the local municipality's water system. The domestic water system is used for cooking and drinking, bathing the residents, laundry, and a small amount of farm and gardens irrigation. To date, the system has been improved by repairing the rainwater catchment system, installing a more efficient pump, separating the rainwater from the more expensive municipal water, and advising the staff toward more efficient use of the system to reduce costs of operations and provide better care for the residents. 

Over winter break this year, an EWB team of two mentors and four students (Cassidy Walter, Raymond Gomez, Joyce Liu, and Amy Telck) traveled to St. Lucia to monitor the efficacy of the first stage of the project, and assess the needs and priorities for the next phase.

Students saw the water system improvements made by EWB in 2016, and discovered that the improvements have led to 24-hour water access, with enough pressure to reach the second floor, with a cost savings of $2000 (US) per month.  With the money they have saved on water bills, the community has now purchased and installed continuous metal rain gutters on all the buildings in the compound. They suggested that the next step be to collect and store more rainwater, and to raise funds to purchase a generator so that in hurricane season, when the power goes out, they will still have access to water for all the residents.

The EWB team spent each day at Marian Home for the Elderly, which provides medical care, housing and meals for about 60 elderly residents.  Each day students ate lunch with the residents, and also were able to enjoy a free day and a Catamaran tour!

Learn more about global service opportunities for students of all disciplines through Engineers Without Borders.