BGE Engineers Making a Difference in Tanzania

Water is undeniably one of Earth’s most precious and underappreciated resources. Here in the United States, we have unfettered access to some source of water at any given time, so it’s easy to forget the same cannot be said in other regions of the world. As professional engineers in BGE’s Central Texas region Public Works department, we are acutely aware of the impact that having access to clean drinking water can have on a community. Because of that, we decided to dedicate our skills and knowledge to work with others to bring this valuable resource to other parts of the globe, starting with two small villages in the country of Tanzania.

As volunteers for Engineers Without Borders (EWB), we recently traveled to Tanzania, a nation located along the eastern coast of Africa, on an assessment and fact-finding mission as part of a water rehabilitation project that will benefit 12,000 people in the villages of Biharu and Kigege.

Currently, residents of the villages have a limited supply of water available to them. The configuration of the existing water distribution system is set up to service each village for two to three hours every other day. This forces members of the community to fill up whatever buckets they can within that timeframe and then hope that it lasts two days.

While in Tanzania, the EWB team hit a small snafu with the local government which limited our ability to collect all the data we originally had intended to, but we were successful in gathering other information we had not anticipated. We learned about the overall schematic of the current water distribution system, gathered flow and water quality data, and learned about the Tanzanian permitting process for these types of projects.

One of the water taps in the village where the EWB team will work to improve the water distribution system

As part of the assessment process, the EWB team met with village residents to gather information about the current water distribution system

The villages are full of kind, hardworking people with limited access to one of our most basic and necessary resources, which only motivates us further to continue trying to help them. We plan to return to Tanzania with EWB in the summer of 2023 on an implementation project to complete Phase I of the project which would double the system’s water capacity. In the meantime, EWB is hosting the Water Trotter Scavenger Hunt on Oct. 22 to raise funds to support the project. We’re so proud that BGE is a sponsor of the event.

EWB's Water Trotter Scavenger Hunt on
Oct. 22 will raise funds for the project.
BGE is a proud sponsor of the event.

The event is open to the public and we would love to invite those in the Central Texas area to attend. Tickets are on sale here.

Picture of Jenna Gardner, PE

Jenna Gardner, PE

Jenna is a BGE engineer with six years of experience providing hydrology and hydraulic support for drainage and floodplain projects. She is proficient in complex modeling and tools. Her projects include drainage studies for watersheds, cities, transportation corridors, roadways and subdivisions. Jenna is the director of operations for EWB and is serving as the responsible engineer in charge of the Tanzania water distribution project.

Picture of Lizzie Wilson, PE

Lizzie Wilson, PE

Lizzie specializes in stormwater analysis and design. Her experience ranges from 2D modeling, designing stormwater systems, development of a drainage master plan and cost estimation. Currently, she is a project engineer in the firm’s central Texas Public Works department and a member of the American Water Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders. For EWB, Lizzie serves as the Greater Austin chapter president.