ESL 115I_SP14: Pre-Research Portfolio_Providing Clean Water (Critical Analysis)
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Solution 1Solution 2Solution 3
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Lens of Logic:
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What are some assumptions that the organization makes when presenting these solutions? Give examples for each solution. In the section of the Water Project website titled, "How We Work", it is clear that the organization believes that through their efforts, clean water can be provided and improved water sanitation can be achieved. When this happens, they not only help people improve the quality of their lives, but give them hope also. The first solution (digging wells) assumes that there will be logistical access to bring in the supplies. Also, it assumes that once installed, the people it helps will be diligent and informed on how to keep it up.Again, for the solution of constructing sand dams, the assumption seems to be that they are low-maintenance or will not require much specialized upkeep. Also, it's assumed that they are a long-term term solution. For the "rain catchment" projects, I think it's assumed that the stored water won't be contaminated. But, it seems like a very real possibility. Also, for all these solutions, the WaterProject seems to assume that they will continually be able to receive the donations necessary to support their work.
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Are there any parts of the solutions that are illogical, not well-accepted, or not credible? If yes, please explain. I'm curious to find out more about how they keep the wells from becoming (re-)contaminatedA dam made out of sand seems very susceptible to eroision. Keeping the stored rain water clean and uncontaminated seems like a tall order, especially in rural/underdeveloped places without easy access to powered/more technically advanced (and reliable) sanitation measures.
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Lens of Evidence
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Are the solutions supported by sufficient evidence? For each solution, please explain in 2-3 sentences.They offer tutorials from people who've helped implement the wells as well as people who's lives have been improved by their presence. They discuss how the wells are built and offer multiple options depending on the size of community to be served and the amount of money raised for a particular project. There is an overview video that offers an overview of how sand dams are constructed and their subsequent effects. They offer examples of communities that have been helped. Finally, the explain that it is not a "one-size-fits-all" solution: sand dams are ideally implemented in areas with rivers that have a particular type of bedrock make up. This information makes the solution more credible because it immediately addresses possible limitations. First of all, this is a common sense measure. Also, they point to examples in other countries (Australia) where it has worked. Finally, they explain how they will set up the project and the immediate effects it will have on the community.
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What types of evidence (statistics/ anecdotes/ authority figures/ logic/ etc.) does the organization use? Provide examples for each type of evidence you state. The site offers a "Project Map" where you can discover what kinds of projects are implement where. Also, they offer an entire section of their website called, "Facts and Statistics about Water and It's Effects" where they describe the issues using reliable statistics from expert organizations like the UN, WHO and UNICEF (all very credible non-profit development groups). They also have a question bar, where you can ask questions about the problem/solutions/organization which they will answer. Examples: They list projects in Kenya, where currently 130 are built every year in the south-east counties of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui and there are similar structures in Brazil, Angola and India.They give a detailed overview of an ongoing project in Nzatani, Kenya
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What are some examples of claims or points without sufficient evidence? Please explain.All of the solutions are logical, practical ways of providing clean drinking water and improved water sanitation. The major issue is the donations. This is a non-profit group and while they must be able to obtain funding through government groups, charities, etc. they also rely on donations. So, the issue is less with the solutions and more with how they plan to fund their implementation and upkeed. See column CSee Column C
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Lens of Insight
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What was your first impression about the solution?I'd definitely heard of well-digging projects before, so my first impression was pretty neutral. I was more interested in the logistics of building deep wells in some of the more remote parts of Africa. I had never head of this solution before. At first, it didn't seem logical: doesn't water dissolve sand? But then, after digging deeper, I realized that the damn is made of a concrete-like substance made from sand, so it made more sense. This solution seemed like the most common sense solution of the three. However, it also seemed like the least universally applicable one, as there are many parts of Africa that don't receive lots of rain. As I read on, I learned that even in those areas, this is a possible solution, because the tanks can store the rain from the rainy season for longer periods of time.
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What surprised you about the solution? If nothing surprised you, what is something interesting you learned from the source? Cost: A very deep well (900+ feet) can cost over $30,000 to dig! And I'm still not sure if that figure includes upkeep!Cost: they are the most cost-effective solution. Also, they are the most environmentally friendly solution, as they can actually be used to "recharge" ground water. Cost: I was surprised how expensive this solution is ($5,000-8,000 for each set-up)
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What are some questions this solution generates regarding your research focus?How do you decide which type of well is best for a particular area? What sorts of training is provided so that the people these projects help can keep up their wells? What is the scientific explanation for how sand dams "recharge" groundwater stores? What kind of training do community members receive to keep up their sand dams? How does "desertification" happen? Why do these set-ups cost so much money?
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What connections can you make between the solutions? How are they all related? These solutions are all "action-based" ways to directly help improve water sanitation issues and provide people/livestock with clean drinking water. They are practical ways to improve people's quality of life but have an extra-dimension: they are ways to inspire hope. They are all proposed and endorsed by the Water Project as well as other credible, non-profit development groups like the WHO and UN. There is research supporting all of the solutions as well as positive, real-life examples of each one in use.
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What is the focus of this solution? What makes this solution so meaningful/important?The focus of digging wells is to provide clean drinking water to people/communities who need it. It also improves water sanitation. Providing clean drinking water, especially in areas close to existing rivers. It also helps "recharge" groundwater stores. The focus/importance of this solution is providing clean water is dry areas so that it can be collected during the rainy season and then "rationed" out during the dry season. It's a great way to overcome that asymmetry.
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Lens of Critique
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What are the strengths of this solution?The size of the well can be customized to the size of the community that needs it. Bigger wells can reliably provide clean water for large communities. This is the most enivronmentally friendly solution as it actually has positive interaction with the surrounding enivronment. As the ground water is recharged, after a few years, shallow wells can actually be built around the damned areas, so it's a multifaceted solution. This solution is a great way to overcome the problems associated with access to clean water caused the dry/rainy reason asymmetry.
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What are the weaknesses or limitations of the solution?reliable upkeep and high costsreliable upkeep, specialized location needs reliable upkeep, high costs
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List some experiences or examples that might provide counterexamples to the content. I haven't found any yet but I will be sure to continue looking for these because one of the best ways to build an argument is to start with a counterexample or opposing viewpoint and then disproving these points/showing how they're impractical, wrong or exaggerated with your own examples.
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Based on your response to the previous question, is there something really important that the organization is NOT mentioning related to the solution? Please explain your answer. For all of these solutions, I would like to see an upkeep plan/proposal. Its great that they are willing to go in and build wells, sand dams and rain water catchment systems, but it will ultimately be the responsibility of the communities they serve to ensure the longevity of these projects. While upkeep may be very simple and easy to implement, I'd feel more comfortable seeing the step by step plans. I'd like to know more about the role of religion in this process. They do explain it on the website, but I want to know if it has anything to do with determining who gets help and who doesn't Finally, I'd like to know how much research they've done about potential problems and what kind of "contingency" plans they have developed.
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Critical Analysis