World Environment
3:52 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Engineers Without Borders Organize San Antonio Professional Chapter

Engineers without Borders chapters exist to provide communities around the world with solutions that improve the lives of its residents. They provide support by designing improvements from solar power for neighborhood centers to water supplies for hospitals.

Local engineers are gathering to create the first local chapter of Engineers Without Borders. The first project for the Alamo Professional Chapter will be a potable water supply for Papachacra, Bolivia, a community of about 2,000 people with no good water supply. 

"It's a very green, lush, mountainous area," said Shane Siebenaler, one of the group's founding members and an engineer at Southwest Research Institute. "We need to make a trip to the site to do our first assessment. We want to talk to people in the community, to understand exactly what the need is related to water."

Siebenaler said in the same way that Doctors Without Borders provide medical care, Engineers Without Borders volunteer their time to address basic human needs.

"There's a community we looked at where the nearest water supply is -- I forget the exact numbers -- but let's say it's two kilometers away, but they had to walk 15 kilometers around a gorge to get there. A small little footbridge that would cross this gorge would solve the problem," Siebenaler said.