Saturday, April 2, 2016

Get pumped!

Those of you that read my blog regularly (ahem, Mom) know that I have had the personal delight and professional privilege of taking engineering students abroad for the last decade.  Most of the service-learning projects we have worked on have been small scale renewable energy projects that involved solar- or hydro-generated electricity.  But in addition to electricity, these trips have allowed me to get a taste - pun intended - of working on water projects too. Ba dump bump!

So over the last year or two, I have read a few books on water well drilling, aquifers, water treatment techniques, and even the issues of justice associated with water access. I began raising money to buy a water well drilling rig, and was grateful to receive a Baylor University Missions Research Grant to bring my coffers up to the $20,000 required. I couple of months ago I ordered one, and today I was able to bring this new drilling rig out to a friend's house to drill a practice well.  Five students and I spent the morning and afternoon assembling the rig, leveling the ground, and drinking coffee - not necessarily in that order. 

[Righty tighty lefty loosey]

 My goal is to learn the process of using it to drill boreholes in areas with water access problems. This practice well is for a buddy's large garden, but the next one will be for a colonia outside of Laredo, Texas.  A group of engineering students and faculty are planning to go there this July to drill a well for a community garden. At present, the colonia has to bring in water with trucks.  Because water is harder to access, gardening isn't being done, and other sources of food are far away; it's a true food desert.  We hope this well will help the community grow more fresh vegetables and brew more coffee - not necessarily in that order.

[It looks smaller and lighter in photos, as do I.  See the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes blooming in the background?  Ahh, springtime in Texas.]

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