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APPLICATIONS OF HDPE PIPING TO SUPPLY WATER TO RURAL VILLAGES IN MOROCCO

 

Donald Swen, Leanne Pichay, Nicholas Vallin, Alice Wu, Jim Johnston

# 2021 Amsterdam

In the rural commune of Ait Bayoud, Morocco, two of the most remote villages in the area, Ilguiloda and Izgouaren, live with water scarcity. To meet their water needs, women and children walk several kilometers to the nearest spring each day, often multiple times a day. Consequently, children cannot attend school consistently. In 2015, the Engineers without Borders Chapter of Columbia University was contacted by community members of these two villages, to initiate the design and construction of a sustainable water distribution system.

Due to large plates of hard igneous rock in the subgrade and extreme temperatures reaching over 35 o C in the summer, students installed 1.4 kilometers of 63mm Galvanized Iron (GI) pipe over the course of three years. However, the GI pipes leaked extensively and the project quickly became cost prohibitive. An alternative analysis was carried out and HDPE was chosen as the material of choice due to its monolithic joints, anti-corrosion properties, affordability, ease of construction and long design life. An on-grade pipeline was designed consisting of a three-kilometer pumped section with a volumetric flow rate of 1.4 L/s and a three-kilometer gravity fed section beginning with 2.5 L/s of flow. A hybrid of SDR 11 and 17 90mm, 63mm, and 50mm HDPE were used to manage water flow. SDR 11 was chosen for the sections that reached up to 7 bars of pressure, after a derating factor 0.5 at a maximal operating temperature of 60 o C which accounts for surface temperature of pipe.

Over the course of six weeks, ten students implemented a fully functional four-kilometer pipeline complete with a 38,000 L reinforced concrete tank, 5.4 kW solar pumping system, and four tap-stands. This system presently distributes water to 370 people with projected population growth up to 540 people. A second trip is planned for Summer 2020 tocomplete the last two kilometers to the second village. Construction was done in close collaboration with the community, from uncoiling pipe to butt fusion. The community showed a promising understanding of many aspects of construction. HDPE serves as a simple yet effective solution for addressing water insecurity in rural areas.

Related keywords : HDPE, Water Distribution, Water Scarcity, Rural Villages, Morocco.
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