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Mark Broses, PE, vividly remembers his first trip to the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. “It was shocking to see people in outer ring communities using old industrial barrels to store drinking water,” recalls Broses, SEH Co-Director of Energy and Sustainability.
Cochabamba, site of the infamous water wars, is one of the fastest growing cities in Bolivia. “Twenty years ago Cochabamba had a population of 125,000, and now it is almost 1 million,” explains Broses.
“When I traveled there a few years ago with the Chippewa Falls Rotary Club, the outer ring residents didn’t have access to clean water infrastructure for drinking or sanitation. This was linked to high illness and mortality rates for children and the elderly.”
SEH’s Andrew Dane helped start the humanitarian project that involves bringing clean water or sanitation infrastructure to these communities when he was a member of the Chippewa Falls Rotary Club in Wisconsin. “I’ve enjoyed getting involved because I know I’ll meet interesting, energetic people who care about building a better world,” says Dane, a Senior Community Development and Sustainability Specialist in the Appleton, Wisconsin SEH office.
Dane enlisted SEH colleagues Broses and environmental engineer Amy Pranger, PE, to help him raise money to travel to Bolivia to work on projects like this. “It feels good to use my engineering skills to help make such an important impact on the quality of human life,” observes Broses, who recently returned from another trip to Bolivia with further plans and ideas for helping the community in Cochabamba.