IRWA provides financial and technical assistance in support of its mission to build sustainable community water and sanitation systems

Kids enjoying their new water system


The core of the IRWA program is the Circuit Rider, a trained water technician, who travels from village to village providing technical assistance and training for local community Water Boards and their employees. Traveling by motorcycle, horse and by foot the Circuit Rider reaches even the most remote villages as they endeavor to provide the communities with the information, skills and supplies they need to provide their residents with safe drinking water. Photo-- A Circuit Rider installing filter to remove impurities from water

Health and Hygiene Training

Health and hygiene training is an essential part of the Circuit Rider model for both the community Water Boards and members and for the schools. The full benefit of the availability of a Safe-Reliable water supply is not realized until the community incorporates safe hygiene and sanitation practices into everyday life. Either the Circuit Rider or a health training specialist provides the training in cooperation with local health officials.


One of IRWA's most significant successes has been the development and promotion of the tablet feed chlorination system. For the past decade IRWA has been working with its partners to replace failed chlorination systems with economical and sustainable tablet feed chlorinators. IRWA assisted in the development of a unit which is manufactured by ADEC from readily available materials. IRWA has also developed an affordable chlorine residual test kit so that communities can monitor the chlorine level in their systems. The Circuit Riders monitor the chlorine levels during their frequent visits to the communities and assist the system operators in making adjustments as needed to assure that all residents of the community will have a safe water supply. Photo-- ADEC Circuit Rider installing tablet feed chlorinator

Water Laboratories

Bacterial analysis being conducted in ADEC lab. The programs laboratory has not only made testing available at the local level but have substantially reduced the cost of such testing. The ADEC water quality laboratory conducts hundreds of test each month to help communities assure they are providing safe water and that they are meeting the Honduras drinking water standards.

Ferrocement Water Tanks

The ADEC program in Honduras has learned the skill of building low cost storage tanks for communities. The most recent construction provided a 1500 gallon tank for a community of 20 families which had been utilized untreated water from a large irrigation tank for the past 15 years. The irrigation tank was too large and costly to disinfect and now with the small Ferro-cement tank the community has a safe supply of disinfected water. In this case the community and the local municipality provided more than half of the $1000 cost to build the tank and install the chlorination system.

In-home Treatment

In communities without community water systems or where water treatment is not effective during the rainy season in-home treatment units are provided on a shared cost basis. The ADEC program utilizes the Potters for Peace ceramic pot filter manufactured in Honduras or a modified system which incorporates disinfection utilizing standard household bleach in a second storage tank.

Water System Development

ADEC provides both project development and construction management services for organizations desiring to finance and build community water and sanitation systems. Currently ADEC is overseeing the construction of three such community projects for Rotary International and individual US Rotary clubs. In addition to overseeing the management and financial aspects the ADEC construction foreman moves into the community and organizes and manages the day to day construction activities of the volunteer community members. IRWA volunteers assist ADEC with engineering questions and review of engineering plans.

Marcala Water Treatment Plant

The Marcala plant began in the Fall of 2007 and was completed in June 2008. The plant was upgraded in May 2011 to a flow rate of 3200 LPM.

Small Water Treatment Plants

IRWA has been active in the development of sustainable water treatment systems for small municipalities since 2004 when it partnered with Cornell University to design and build the first gravity powered treatment plant. Since then the Cornell based program, AguaClara has made substantial improvements in this process and has been the primary force behind the development of treatment plants in ten municipalities in Honduras. While this program is a great success story for medium sized communities, IRWA has continued to search for a system to serve the small rural communities. Thousands of these communities experience serious dirty and contaminated water issues in the rainy season each year.

Partnering with engineering students from Syracuse University IRWA has launched a pilot program to build a small treatment plant that will suit the needs of rural communities with 15 to 60 families. A pilot plant is presently being tested in the community of El Cipres, Opatoro, Honduras and has been running consistently since September, 2015. The plant utilizes only locally-available materials and local construction methods to incorporate settling and flocculation processes to remove turbidity from the water. It is designed to operate at the slow rate of 15 gallon per minute, versus the 150 to 500 gallon per minute rate of the AguaClara plants.