Integration of geophysical measurement techniques in the early stages of sustainable water system design for the developing world

Geoscientists Without Borders
Water Management Projects

The results from these studies helped to determine the best location for a water well for the community. The combined information will be used to suggest a protocol for groundwater mapping in volcanic areas with complex geology for future projects.

A group from the Colorado School of Mines used a suite of geophysical tools to characterize subsurface water for the village of Chasnigua, Honduras. The village is small, with approximately 50 families (200 people) that rely on trucking their water to their homes. They have asked for assistance in developing water well, storage and distribution system. Honduras is economically one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, with about half the population below the poverty line. Consequently, the people do what they can to subsist on the land. This location is one with economic hardships and complex geology and hydrology. The project was completed using a variety of surface geophysical tools: electromagnetic, SP, magnetics, magnetic gradiometry, and DC resistivity, to try to unravel the complex structure of the subsurface. Water samples were taken to analyze the physical properties of the near-surface and assist in the interpretation process.

Status Complete

Statement of Work

An interdisciplinary team of senior level engineering students, working through the Humanitarian Engineering Program at Colorado School of Mines, have worked with the people of Chasnigua and developed a plan for water well, the water treatment, storage and distribution system. However the landowner of the originial site decided against construction on his property. Funds originally designed for constructions were used to conduct surveys on an additional property. Construction funds are needed to complete the project.

The water system was designed to be economical and to utilize local materials and knowledge.


Input from the local people guided the design and the project has been conducted in a manner to promote community involvement and sustainability.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Catherine Skokan, Colorado School of Mines  
GeoHazards International

Team members

Colorado School of Mines: David Munoz, Adrian Weaver, and Humanitarian Engineering students
Universidad Autonma de Honduras-Campus Valle Sula

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Call for Abstracts closes 1 April!