Additional context about next steps for El Llanito EWB project

Our first Engineers Without Borders (EWB) team, working on the El Llanito water supply project, left Nicaragua 9 January. Our second team arrived on the 7th so we had overlap and opportunity to do a handoff.

Our Responsible Engineer In Charge (REIC), Phil Bowman, and the new arrivals left on 18 January.

I posted about Phil’s summary, but want to add this for context. We are so pleased with the community engagement and all the work they have accomplished. They have completed almost all of the trenching – much faster than we had anticipated.

We’re monitoring our estimated cost to complete and still have some uncertainties that may require additional fundraising, but with the Rotary Global Grant and EWB funds, we are going to be close. If you want to support the work in this community you can donate online at:

In addition to ensuring completion of this first project, together with the water committee we have identified a number of potential follow on projects.

You can see the other progress posts at the site as well as this one.

Great progress on trenching for El Llanito Nicaragua water supply

We’ve been very pleased at the progress on trenching for the water supply project. We are concerned that the rocky soil would make this very difficult work, and in places that is the case. However in other places the teams are doing really well and making rapid progress.

The water committee or (CAPS) has organized the work into 25 meter segments with assigned individual volunteers.

Hasta LOS ninos, esta trabajando!

There are some very rocky places, we’re having to detour around.

But overall, it has gone much quicker than anticipated. The community engagement and work is extraordinary.

Please consider contributing to our El Llanito, Nicaragua water supply project

My friend and engineering lead for our El Llanito, Nicaragua water supply project, Phil Bowman, shared the following request for contributions to help offset some of the travel costs for our UC Berkeley student team members as well as some of our equipment and material costs. Thanks Phil!
I’m also inviting you to contribute to this project which will change the lives of members of this community, mostly the women and girls who pump water by hand and carry it from the well to their homes. Your contribution will subsidize student travel, fund a tap stand, a few meters of pipeline or something else we ned to complete the project. Any donation is greatly appreciated. Your donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law (Tax ID: 59-3821454).

Please click here to help:

Phil and I and the rest of the team will be going to El Llanito right after Christmas to help install what you’re funding!  

Have safe and happy holidays,


***From: Phil Bowman <>
Subject: Contribute to a Water Project in Nicaragua?
Date: December 11, 2019 at 4:25:19 PM PST
To: list

Dear Friends and Family,

Since I retired 3 years ago, I have become very involved with Engineers without Borders. (Yes, this is like Doctors without Borders, but we do engineering projects in developing countries like water systems, composting latrines, solar systems and bridges.)At the moment, I’m the engineering lead for a clean water system for a small village in Nicaragua called El Llanito. El Llanito is a community of about 1300 people whose only water source is a single hand-pumped well. Some families have to walk over a mile each way with their water cans and wait their turn to pump their daily water. The average annual household income is about $1000.

Our project will install an electric pump, two large storage tanks, 4.5 km of pipe and 49 tap stands distributed around the community to bring clean water close to each home.

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading down to the community along with other professionals plus six UC Berkeley students to build the first phase of this project. We plan to finish the project on our second trip in the spring.

The professional engineers are paying their own travel expenses, but I’m writing today to solicit contributions to help offset some of the travel costs for the UC Berkeley students.  Ticket prices are over $1000 each and we plan a second trip in the spring.

In addition, although the Rotary Club of Livermore has made a generous donation which will cover most material costs, current funding will not cover everything.  Here are some example cost estimates:

4500 meters of pipeline, fittings and valves =              $24,000 (~$5 per meter)

49 tap stands =                                                              $3,600 ($74 each)

2 pressure break tanks =                                               $1,200 ($600 each)

1 concrete block pump house =                                    $3,300

Misc. tools and supplies =                                             $1,400

Electric pump and installation =                                    $4,000

2 22,000-liter storage tanks =                                        $11,500 ($5,750 each)

Student travel costs ($1000 x 6 students x 2 trips) =    $12,000 ($1,000 per ticket) 

If you would like to contribute to this life-changing project, whether subsidizing student travel, funding a tap stand, a few meters of pipeline or something else, any donation is greatly appreciated.

Please click here to help:

Your donations are tax deductible and I’ll be going to El Llanito myself to help install what you’re funding!  

Thank you,

Phil Bowman

Photo below is the local community gathering to elect members to a Water Committee to coordinate with our water system installation.  The community is very excited to get this new water system.

Beer Club

We started at Tap 25 and then walked over to the Korean barbecue restaurant.

Dan Moore and I stopped to check out the new Town Centre store.

On the way back we noticed that Pennyweight Craft Brewing door was open so we went in and checked out the in-progress construction. Beautiful! It’s going to be a wonderful venue.


Nice turnout, but not full complement
I had the Drakes Foraging Raccoon IPA
Pennywhistle coming soon
Upper level
From Pennyweight email update

Cars, just for fun…

The past few days I’ve just been struck some cars in Livermore.

I’d never seen a McLaren

I asked this guy if it was his.

“No, you’d have to lather me up with butter to get me into it.”

“Can I quote you on that?”


Then, this evening I just had to pull over in my ‘94 Miata to photograph these cuties.

Painted by JR Romero’s team at Tri-Valley Auto Body
Mini pickup
Modern mini
Classic Minis, set up for racing

As I was taking photos, I saw the owner in his garage, so I walked over and told him how cool I thought they were. We talked a while.

He explained the ones on the trailer were for racing. They’d just come back from a race, which is why they were in front of his place.

Later I found a neat story about their racing and family background.

I asked if Mini Mokes were in the same family. I told him we used them when I was in Belize in the 70s.

Mini Moke

He assured me they were and that his wife had learned to drive in one. Also, that the blue Mini pickup had been hers when she was 16. Then she came out and we chatted a little longer, before I left.

5-18 Alaska

Kathy and I traveled with Carolyn and Lloyd Baysdorfer. We flew into Faibanks, then toured Denali by bus and train to Anchorage, then another bus to Seward before getting on Holland America ship to Glacier Bay, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, and down to Vancouver.
Here is link to photos from May 2018 Alaska trip:
A lot of these photos and videos aren’t that great, but it is clear we all had a blast.