The forum featured an interactive "science fair" to showcase examples of currenty low-cost, life-saving technologies, that have or can have a transformational impact in the developing world. These products from the public and private sector demonstrate the great potential to solve current and future development problems.
The forum was interested in the Kite Aerial Photography (KAP).
The KAP was designed to obtain site visuals when maps were not available.
To see the clip of the presentation on the project, please see:
For the rest of the presentations as well as the write ups please see: http://www.usaid.gov/scitech/
The proposed method of repair was bentonite injection. Bentonite is a material with very unique properties. It is a naturally occurring material found in the earth - a clay - which can swell up to 16x its original size when it comes in contact with water. This property makes it a useful material for sealing leaks, waterproofing buildings, and many other applications where water flow needs to be stopped.
While bentonite would help us fix the leak, we had a minor problem to overcome - where could it be purchased in Cambodia? We soon found out - nowhere! So, we looked to our closest geographic neighbors - Thailand and Vietnam. Through a material supplier located in Siem Reap, we were able to make a purchase from a Thai supplier. After the purchase, two weeks later, the bags of bentonite powder were delivered to HT's office.
Center: Things get real! Dirty, that is
Right: The setup - Filtering water, the mixing barrel, pumps and hoses
With the fluid slurry mixed, we started pumping by inserting a length of typical 1.5" diameter flexible hose as far into the inflow point as possible. Things were going well - messy, wet, dirty, but so far so good.
To finish the repair, a layer of bentonite powder was spread over a 3-meter long strip, covering the three inflow points. This area was then backfilled with clay and protected with a layer of rip rap.
The downstream area has been dry since the bentonite was injected. The real test will be the upcoming rainy season, which will start in May/June. We'll keep you posted!
Matt, the project lead, gave the presentation, which by far was the best, but, I could also be a bit biased.
As for India, it definitely was an intense and rewarding experience. Those of us who had the time to travel a bit longer got a well-rounded view of India.
Including, the large city of Chennai, where in order to cross the bustling streets, we had to play Frogger-- with only 1 life. We continued to travel into Mamallapuram where we stayed on the beach and watched many cultural and traditional dances during a large festival. Afterwards a few of us went up north to Darjeeling (a city 2000m above sea level), to go trekking.
The most amazing view was being 3000m above sea level and seeing the night sky, including the Milky Way, unobstructed by light pollution.
After our first experience with the trains in India, we arrived in Varansi (a very religious and spiritual place) where we witnessed the festival of new beginnings and the solar eclipse. Granted it was foggy out.
In the end, there are a few things I learned while in India:
1) Public Urination is common, even if there is a bathroom around the corner.
2) Nobody is every in a rush, except when it comes to driving.
3) Drivers are perpetually on the horn.
4) "India time" refers to 6 hour delays or more.
5) Anything goes.
As part of the downstream canal planning, and the FWUC organization, HT arranged for a group of us to meet and walk the entire length of the downstream O Ta Bet. The group included village chiefs, FWUC members, HT/CTO members, and EWB. As we walked, the village leaders explained where the stream flowed in relation to the Balang commune boundaries. They also pointed out how the water was currently being managed by the farmers - a system of man made dikes and diversions led the water from rice paddy to rice paddy quite effectively. GPS points were taken during the walk to trace the path of the O Ta Bet, for the purpose of canal planning in the future.
At each twist and turn (or, after we had waded through a rice paddy where the water was knee deep) the group would take a short break in the shade to discuss where we'd been and where we were in reference to our map... and to check for any pesky leeches that were trying to get a free ride on our legs!
After having a rejuvenating glass of tea at the crocodile farm, the expedition continued downstream, finally making it to Bok Kron's daughter's house on the main road. Here, I got a glimpse into the rice harvesting process, and chatted with her family about the rice yields they were getting this year. Finally, our day completed with a homemade lunch and a de-briefing meeting where the FWUC and HT discussed plans for canal development and reservoir maintenance.
Basic repair items that are being addressed now are erosion along the downstream embankment in localized areas. Eroded areas will be backfilled and compacted, after proper surface preparation has taken place - removing grasses and leveling uneven and gullied soil. Erosion along the downstream wing wall returns will be filled in with rip-rap. Erosion has occurred here because it is exposed to foot traffic, fishermen who climb down the rip-rap along the side.
As may have been mentioned at some point on this blog, there has been some leakage visible at the downstream embankment. We have monitored it visually and through the readings captured at the Monitoring Wells. For the last few months, the conditions have remained stable, which is a good thing, however it can't be left to leak for the long term. Our plans to plug the leaks have taken several twists and turns. The best case scenario for fixing the leaks has always included Bentonite, a naturally occurring clay which carries the unique inherent property that upon contact with water, it can swell up to 16x its original size. We would be using sodium bentonite in either powder or pellet form, and would spread it over the upstream embankment and insert it into potential inflow points to form a "plug" that would seal reservoir water from traveling through the embankment. However, Bentonite is not commonly used in Cambodia, and so we had to look elsewhere for material suppliers. We have just received pricing from a Thai supplier, and looks like we could receive material within two weeks. (PS, if any of our blog readers have information on bentonite suppliers in this region of the world, we would love to hear from you, for future reference.)
While this may solve the problem on our hands now, once the reservoir is fully turned over to the community, it will not be so easy to reach out to a Thai supplier, purchase material, and get it to the site... Something we're trying to start, as we perform maintenance and repairs on the embankment now, is getting the high level FWUC members involved directly. Participation of the FWUC is essential now, because they will be responsible for operating, maintaining, and inspecting the dam and watergate in the long term. A long period of overlap with EWB, HT, and FWUC all participating in routine dam inspections and monitoring procedures will help to ensure the success of the project's future management.
Though the flooding has caused some damage to the culverts, nothing to the main embankment, more in depth information to come. Below are some pictures that Bunheng/Chai took last night. We'll be going to the field tomorrow, and we're preparing ourselves to swim through lots of mud.
But on other news, HT has a new office, it's across the river. Which is pretty awesome, it's a house... with a pool.
I also got to go to the site today for the first time with Chai. Let me say, pictures don't do it justice. I don't think it really hits you how much this project has helped people till you see all the homes being serviced through this reservoir. But, we drove around the embankment and saw the trees that were planted during the 'tree planting ceremony', collected measurements at the monitoring wells, and took lots of pictures. Other things we checked out was The Vetiver Nursery that will be underway in the next day or two, because everyone had the week off for the recent holidays. And the bamboo is also ready to be used as a 'fence' to keep the fish from getting out of the reservoir.
Lunch with Maria and Bryse.
Although its use is not widespread in the US, this could be a cost efficient, environmentally friendly method to help reduce the impact of natural disasters on community members in hurricane and wildfire regions.
To read more, check out www.vetiver.org. (Source of picture: www.vetiver.org)
With the help of Bun Heng, Tobias and the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board in Bangkok, HT has recently procured the long awaited vetiver tillers. Three thousand tillers were delivered in all and now we will need to propagate and plant to stabilize our embankment.
Earlier this summer, the EWB team was selected by the Environmental & Water Resources Institute, a branch of the ASCE, to present the Trav Kod Watergate Project at their 3rd Annual Developing Nations Conference, this coming January in Chennai, India! The full title of this conference is: An International Perspective on Current & Future State of Water Resources & the Environment. EWB's responsibilities consist of submitting a technical paper detailing community relationships, project history and development, design, and construction, and developing an oral presentation, which will be delivered at the conference in Chennai over a few days in January.
The conference consists of projects centered around water and environmental issues throughout Asia and Africa. Project presentations will focus on the global effect of the regional issues confronted in these projects, and the innovative solutions implemented as a result. EWB is proud to share the story of the Trav Kod project on behalf of HT, HRND, the Balang Commune, and all of our partners, in such a conference!
Check out the conference website for more details: http://content.asce.org/conferences/india2010/index.html
At the end of the ceremony several hundred fish were released into the reservoir, with several thousand more to be provided by the Ministry in the next month.
The two south canals are also in place. We are still working on rip rapping, which we plan to finish in the next couple of days.
Congrats to Tobias on this most honored recognition. Don't know if it can get any better than this. Then again, knowing Tobias, it always can.
"...Tobias receives a ceremonial scarf from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in a ceremony celebrating the humanitarian works of ordinary individuals. This ceremony was called "Unsung Heroes of Compassion." Photo is by Robert Bengtson, who was the official photographer at this event..." -Maria Jarina
The design phase consisted mostly of hydrological modeling and re-modeling, trying to optimize capacity of the culverts while minimizing the cost of installation. The crucial number that the team was trying to optimize was the invert elevation of the culverts. Our objective was to minimize the amount of excavation needed to make grade for the culvert installation.
In the end, the hydro analysis showed that six culverts, 1m in diameter, with a slope of 2%, would provide enough capacity to act as the additional emergency spillways for the reservior. To determine the invert elevation for the culverts, we checked many different scenarios in the stage/storage model for the reservior. The few scenarios that met all necessary hydrological criteria were compared with the existing site elevations, and a final decision was made in line with the original objective of minimizing excavation.
The structural details were determined for the sub-base stone layer, concrete collar wall (to aid in preventing water seepage along the length of the culverts), and backfill. Design sketches were sent over to Cambodia in the beginning of March, and construction promptly started. Readily available pre-cast concrete culvert sections, 1m in length, are the typical materials used for culvert installation throughout this region of Cambodia. In the above photo, sections of culvert are being set, and the concrete collar wall has been cast, visible in the background.
Pick up a copy of ENR, or visit ENR.com this week, and check out the cover story. The founder of EWB-USA, Bernard Amadei, was named the 2008 Award of Excellence winner! This award is one of the construction industry's most prestigous honors, and has been given out annually by ENR since the mid-1960s.
The 7-page magazine article tells the story of Amadei's vision for the future of engineers to use their skills to provide to benefit a larger, more universal purpose. EWB-USA, with its roots starting back in 2002 at Colorado University as a single chapter with a few student members and a small volunteer staff, has grown into a respected, vibrant, nationwide organization with 12,000 members and nearly 300 student and professional chapters.
The article is full of interesting information: descriptions of projects currently ongoing across the world, accolades from industry professionals about the importance of EWB, and innovative ideas in practice today that are "taking EWB from charity to enterprise".
ENR does a wonderful job of communicating the mission, excitement, and passion surrounding EWB. I'd like to congratulate Mr. Amadei for this recognition, and thanks to ENR for the spotlight in one of our industry's most respected publications.
These past few weeks have been focused on meetings with the Military, District leaders, Commune leaders, and village leaders. Last week was the first meeting where all were able to meet at one place. Our main topic of discussion was the canal construction which was due to begin yesterday, however, due to malfunctioning equipment is delayed till tomorrow. Also discussed was the erosion control measures for the embankment as well as the proposed laterite roadway.
(photo credit: www.hydromulch.co.za/
And best of all, the poster won the award for "Best Poster Presentation" out of a total of 41 other presentations.
Thanks as always for keeping up with our progress, and we hope you'll check out the efforts of our other project teams!!
On January 27th we went to the site to install one monitoring well and do some survey work to determine the cross section of the north embankment.
Using an auger Matt & Chai worked together to dig a hole approximately 25 meters south of the embankment and 4 meters deep. It takes a lot of effort to dig the hole so alternating diggers was key. As they worked, it became apparent that there was something stuck in the pipe; it turned out to be a frog! But they saved it.
The PVC pipe was wrapped with filter fabric and inserted in the hole then the space around the pipe was filled with sand. The top of the pipe is protruding from the ground. Concrete was poured around the well to keep it in place. A successful installation.
In the meantime Linda, Maria & Ceda surveyed from the watergate to the north embankment about 10 points using the measuring rod and level.
While we were there we studied the cracks just north of the dam. The largest seems to be 30 feet long from the edge of the dam and, using a make-shift plumb, it measured as much as 1'8" deep as seen below.
After about 4 hours the well was complete, and we reached the north embankment with our surveying. It was time to head back in time for Chai's class, just before sunset.
Over the weekend, EWB and HT traveled down to Phnom Penh for meetings with consultants and government officials who may be able to help with the next steps of our project. Tops on the list were conversations about the formation and legal registration of the Farmer Water User Community (FWUC), baseline assessment, and community mapping.
Our first meeting was with Mr. Mlob Bon, from Cambodia's national Department of Irrigated Agriculture. He led us through the FWUC registration process and offered his help in navigating the provincial bureaucracy when we officially register our water project.
Next, we met with Tony Bott, an Australian consultant who has a good deal of experience with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and was able to clarify many of our next steps toward FWUC registration, canal mapping and construction, and project assessment.
After this, we met with Erik Van Den Brink, who works for Catholic Relief Services in Cambodia and has several successful development projects in Cambodia under his belt. Erik articulated many of the proper techniques for FWUC registration, and also described some of the pitfalls to avoid with mapping and assessment. He pointed us toward some helpful resources for both the water user group establishment and the baseline / impact assessment.
Last, we met with Paul Gager from Aruna Technologies, a small GIS consultancy that has worked on many different projects: both government and non-government, agricultural and economic, and many others. Paul was helpful in describing our options for mapping and GIS, andgave us options for building maps for FWUC registration and assessments.
All in all, a very successful trip!
For those of you that were able to attend the Milestone Gala held in September of last year, you will recognize the subject of this photo! Our friends at HLD Workshop, an environmentally friendly furniture manufacturer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, constructed this amazing model and donated it for display at the Gala. The model was a hit, and was the topic of many conversations that night!
We'd like to thank HLD once again for their detailed (and speedy, might I add) work putting this model together. Check out their blog for more info!