Aqua America is continuing its work with Villanova University’s Engineering Service Learning program (VESL) this March with a trip to Ghana in conjunction with Lifetime Wells International (LWI).
Justin Kauffman, director of asset management and field services for Aqua; Mike Fili, vice president, distribution for Aqua Pennsylvania; David Powell, founder of LWI, a nonprofit based in Aston; and four Villanova engineering students will visit upwards of 10 villages per day in Ghana. They will perform condition assessments of existing wells previously installed by LWI.
Kauffman has been working with Powell and VESL for three years to develop a digital system to track the status of the wells. This collaboration resulted in the adaption of tablet-based applications that deploy mechanics in Ghana to service their wells. The team will be working alongside these local mechanics to ensure the digital maintenance applications are working accurately to ensure proper well upkeep. The LWI team can then determine trends in the data tracked by the local mechanics to establish effective solutions.
“Aqua’s partnership with VESL over the past few years has been wonderful, and the students are extremely excited to travel to Ghana and work alongside the locals on such a meaningful project,” said Kauffman. “These wells have been truly life-changing for the communities they serve, as each well supports 30 to 40 families. They have taken the burden off women who previously had to walk long distances each day, carrying large jugs with their family’s daily water supply.
“The work we’re doing alongside LWI has been essential to the health and well-being of these communities, and the app-based maintenance technology helps ensure the wells will continue to serve them for years to come.”
Kauffman is just the right person for this job. Not only does he have an extensive background in water asset management, but in his current role at Aqua, he works with similar maintenance technology on a daily basis. This service trip directly aligns with the mission of Aqua’s corporate giving and volunteer program, the Ripple Effect, which marries Aqua’s water quality expertise with its commitment to the environment and local communities on a global scale.
During its stay, the group will be based in Yendi, a district in the northern region of Ghana. LWI has installed more than 1,500 wells in Ghana since 2006, providing clean water to hundreds of thousands of people and radically changing how they live. This is Aqua’s first trip with LWI, though previous teams have participated in service trips to Panama and Nicaragua along with students from VESL.
Prior to his departure, Kauffman will be collecting soccer balls to give to children in the communities they visit. Please reach out to him at 610-520-6321 if you are interested in contributing.
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