Ingenieros Sin Fronteras, Colombia: Improvement of the Water Quality in the Community of Santa Isabel de Potosi


  • María Catalina Ramírez Cajiao Universidad de los Andes
  • Juan Pablo Sanabria Céspedes Ingenieros sin Fronteras Colombia
  • Diana María Duarte Gómez Ingenieros sin fronteras Colombia
  • Andrés Esteban Acero López Universidad de los Andes


Water, Community, Participatory Action Research, Active Learning, Syntegration


Santa Isabel rural community is located between the municipalities of Guasca and La Calera in Colombia; it was composed of different stakeholders that coexist around the “El Asilo” creek. The people collect water from this water source for consumption and daily use. The water comes from Chingaza moorland, one of top three of water generation ecosystems in the country. Given the close relationship between the community and the ecological system, the environmental damage of this creek has generated big problems in health and quality of life of the inhabitants. Through joint work with the community was proposed a project called "Improvement of the quality of water in the community of Santa Isabel de Potosi". The group with the community is nowadays performing an analysis based on community-based decision-making taking into account the possible alternatives that could be implemented in order of diminishing in some percentage the impact of the issue and this way try to avoid the complete deterioration of the brook and the ecosystems in the area. Among the alternatives of intervention these are found: generation of a new method of community cooperation in behalf of the sanitation of the brook and the implementation of homemade filters in the improvement of the quality of the drinking water.This paper presents the analysis of the problem taking into account different points of view such as the environmental as well as the organizational one, highlighting the fact that this is not an isolated issue but an evidence of the possible environmental disaster that Colombia could live if nothing is done at the right time. Also this paper presents how engineering and work with the communities has been able to define the guidelines of intervention that are going to allow the next stage of the project, putting in practice the solutions proposed in behalf of a better quality of life.

Author Biographies

María Catalina Ramírez Cajiao, Universidad de los Andes

  • Associate professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • Director, Ingenieros Sin Fronteras Colombia

Andrés Esteban Acero López, Universidad de los Andes

PhD Student on Engineering Universidad de los Andes Bogotá D.C., Colombia