AguaClara emerged through a web of connections between dedicated individuals all working toward the cause of providing clean drinking water for rural communities in Honduras. At the root of the program is Monroe Weber- Shirk. Monroe spent 17 months working in refugee camps in Honduras after two trimesters at Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU). This experience inspired him to pursue development work in Honduras and apply his passion for science and invention to design and build water treatment systems for rural settings.
AguaClara today is a comprehensive program driven by student research teams at Cornell University, the NGO Agua Para el Pueblo (APP) in Honduras and a variety of dedicated individuals including the program Director, Monroe Weber-Shirk. To date, AguaClara has assisted in the design of 13 plants in Honduras and 4 village water treatment facilities in India. Over the past decade, the technology of the plants has evolved due to feedback from the existing plants and the consequent research. The following timeline follows the journey of the AguaClara technology from its origin to the present.
Monroe goes to Honduras to work in Salvadoran refugee camps where he meets Jacobo Nuñez, the future director of Agua Para el Pueblo (APP).1982
APP is a Honduran NGO that provides design and construction services for water and sanitation systems1984
Water project proposal in Dominican Republic prompts Monroe to contact Jacobo Nuñez.December 2002
Between January of 2003 to May of 2004 Monroe worked on a water distribution project called AguaRed. During this time Jacobo Nuñez asked the question How do we provide safe drinking water for villages where we are currently delivering stream water?
Monroe travels to Honduras for the first time work on AguaRed and to discuss the possibility of building a water treatment plant.January 2004
Student team from Engineers for a Sustainable World begins designing the first plant. Monroe begins teaching his new course on water treatment design.Fall 2004
Construction begins on Plant 0, in the community La Treinta y Cuatro.December 2004
Travel to Honduras, the plant is mostly built.April 2005
Construction is completed on Plant La Treinta y Cuatro.Winter 2005
Inauguration of the first AguaClara designed plant at Ojojona.January 2007
AguaClara becomes independent from Engineers for a Sustainable World.Spring 2007
Plant 2 in the community of Tamara is inaugurated.
First Linear Flow Orifice Meter installed.
Major improvements to the sedimentation tank.
First filter installed.
Plant 3 in the community of Marcala is inaugurated.
Used ferrocement baffles.
Plant 4 in the community of Cuatro Comunidades is inaugurated.
Innovations in the Chemical Dosing System
New Sedimentation Tank geometry.
Altered Flocculator results
Plant 5 in the community of Agalteca is inaugurated.
Sedimentation inlet system altered.
The expansion of Plant 3 in the community of Marcala is inaugurated.May 2011
Demonstration of Filter in HondurasJanuary 2011
Construction of new Stacked Rapid Sand Filter begins in TamaraJanuary 2012
Plant 6 in the community of Alauca is inaugurated.
Altered geometry of Sedimentation Tank
Plant 7 in the community of Atima is inaugurated.
Improved sedimentation tank design
Altered Chemical Dosing System
Plant in the community of San Nicolas is inaugurated.
Dual Chemical Dosing System implemented
Sedimentation Tank altered.
First Filter integrated into the design.
First plant to have a ram pump.
Cuatro Comunidades upgrades the sedimentation tank.March 2014
Plant 9 in the community of Jesus de Otoro is inaugurated.January 2015
Plant 10 in the community of Moroceli is inaugurated.January 2016
Plant 11 in the community of San Matias is inaugurated.
First and only entrance tank reservoir built.
Sedimentation Tank drain simplified.
New filter inlet design.
Construction starts on Plant 13 at Zamorano University in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.May 2017
Plant 12 in the community of Las Vegas is inaugurated.
First plant to prevent scaling by dosing acid.
Construction starts on Plant 14 in the community of La Concordia, Nicaragua.August 2017