Sanitation and expansion of the drinking water supply for Esmeraldas in Ecuador

On 17 February 2016, the joint venture GAUFF-CONTEC-ACOTECNIC was assigned the construction supervision for the expansion of the drinking water supply in the three Ecuadorian cantons, Esmeraldas, Atacames and Rio Verde by the mayor of Esmeraldas, Dr Lenín Lara. The Vice President of the Republic of Ecuador, Jorge Glas, and the Managing Director of the national development Bank, Verónica Gallardo were present during the formal ceremony. By implementation of the “project for the improvement and expansion of the local drinking water system of Esmeraldas and its zone of influence in the province of Esmeraldas”, the drinking water supply should be secured sustainably and in lasting good quality for the citizens and tourists of Esmeraldas and the connected cantons.

The contracting parties representing the client are the municipal governments of the cantons Esmeraldas, Atacames and Rio Verde. The technical side will be represented by a project management unit of the Ecuadorian development Bank “Banco del Estado”. The contractor is a joint venture, whereas GAUFF Engineering holds a stake of 40% and the two Ecuadorian consulting companies CONTEC and ACOTECNIC each hold a stake of 30%.

The overall construction project is divided into three construction sections and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018. Section one will concentrate on expanding the water extraction along the Río Esmeraldas by five new pumps and adding 2 new modules to the water treatment. Upon completion, an amount of 3, 2 m3/s of treated water should consistently be available; currently only 0, 8 m³/ are produced. Section two comprises the construction of about 120 km of new transport pipelines and section three includes the extension of the distribution network by constructing about 390 km of pipelines, the sanitation and expansion of 15 reserve tanks as well as the construction of 8,500 new domestic water connections.

20 years ago, it already became apparent that the then-existing water supply of Esmeraldas and the adjacent seaside resorts would not be sufficient. Since then, due to the increasingly dilapidated facilities, the connected citizens and local economy had to repeatedly suffer water shortages and rationing. This limited the development of a tourism sector in the region. The project to improve and expand the water supply was devised in such a way that in the year 2040 around 540 000 predicted citizens and tourists would still have access to sufficient clean drinking water.

The project will sustainably improve the quality of life of the population, particularly in the outskirts of the cities. Diseases linked to inadequate water supply will be reduced, the distribution of drinking water by tankers will be a thing of the past and the connected seaside resorts will become considerably more attractive for tourists.

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