AguaClara Timeline


AguaClara today is a comprehensive program driven by student research teams at Cornell University, the NGO Agua Para el Pueblo (APP) in Honduras and a variety of dedicated individuals including the program Director, Monroe Weber-Shirk. To date, AguaClara has assisted in the design of 13 plants in Honduras and 4 village water treatment facilities in India. Over the past decade, the technology of the plants has evolved due to feedback from the existing plants and the consequent research. The following timeline follows the journey of the AguaClara technology from its origin to the present.

The AguaClara Origin Story

AguaClara emerged through a web of connections between dedicated individuals all working toward the cause of providing clean drinking water for rural communities in Honduras. At the root of the program is Monroe Weber- Shirk. Monroe spent 17 months working in refugee camps in Honduras after two trimesters at Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU). This experience inspired him to pursue development work in Honduras and apply his passion for science and invention to design and build water treatment systems for rural settings.


  • Monroe's first trip to Honduras

    Monroe goes to Honduras to work in Salvadoran refugee camps where he meets Jacobo Nuñez, the future director of Agua Para el Pueblo (APP).

  • Founding of Agua Para el Pueblo (APP)

    APP is a Honduran NGO that provides design and construction services for water and sanitation systems

  • Water Project

    Water project proposal in Dominican Republic prompts Monroe to contact Jacobo Nuñez.

    December 2002
  • 2003

  • Between January of 2003 to May of 2004 Monroe worked on a water distribution project called AguaRed. During this time Jacobo Nuñez asked the question How do we provide safe drinking water for villages where we are currently delivering stream water?

  • 2004

  • Monroe Travels to Honduras

    Monroe travels to Honduras for the first time work on AguaRed and to discuss the possibility of building a water treatment plant.

    January 2004
  • Student team from Engineers for a Sustainable World begins designing the first plant. Monroe begins teaching his new course on water treatment design.

    Fall 2004
  • Construction begins on Plant 0, in the community La Treinta y Cuatro.

    December 2004
  • 2005

  • Travel to Honduras, the plant is mostly built.

    April 2005
  • Plant 0

    Construction is completed on Plant La Treinta y Cuatro.

    Winter 2005
  • 2006


  • Inauguration of the first AguaClara designed plant at Ojojona.

    January 2007
  • AguaClara becomes independent from Engineers for a Sustainable World.

    Spring 2007
  • 2008

  • Plant 2

    Plant 2 in the community of Tamara is inaugurated.

    • First Linear Flow Orifice Meter installed.
    • Major improvements to the sedimentation tank.
    • First filter installed.

    June 2008
  • Plant 3

    Plant 3 in the community of Marcala is inaugurated.

    • Used ferrocement baffles.

    July 2008
  • 2009

  • Plant 4

    Plant 4 in the community of Cuatro Comunidades is inaugurated.

    • Innovations in the Chemical Dosing System
    • New Sedimentation Tank geometry.
    • Altered Flocculator results

    March 2009
  • 2010

  • Plant 5

    Plant 5 in the community of Agalteca is inaugurated.

    • Sedimentation inlet system altered.

    June 2010
  • 2011

  • The expansion of Plant 3 in the community of Marcala is inaugurated.

    May 2011
  • 2012

  • Demonstration of Filter in Honduras

    January 2011
  • Construction of new Stacked Rapid Sand Filter begins in Tamara

    January 2012
  • Plant 6

    Plant 6 in the community of Alauca is inaugurated.

    • Altered geometry of Sedimentation Tank

    3rd of February 2012
  • Plant 7

    Plant 7 in the community of Atima is inaugurated.

    • Improved sedimentation tank design
    • Altered Chemical Dosing System

    June 2012
  • 2013


  • Plant 8

    Plant in the community of San Nicolas is inaugurated.

    • Dual Chemical Dosing System implemented
    • Sedimentation Tank altered.
    • First Filter integrated into the design.
    • First plant to have a ram pump.

    5th of April 2014
  • Cuatro Comunidades upgrades the sedimentation tank.

    March 2014
  • 2015

  • Plant 9

    Plant 9 in the community of Jesus de Otoro is inaugurated.

    January 2015
  • AguaClara has its own lab!

    Fall 2015
  • 2016

  • Plant 10

    Plant 10 in the community of Moroceli is inaugurated.

    January 2016
  • Plant 11

    Plant 11 in the community of San Matias is inaugurated.

    • First and only entrance tank reservoir built.
    • Sedimentation Tank drain simplified.
    • New filter inlet design.

    March 2016
  • Plant 12

    Construction starts on Plant 12 in the community of Las Vegas.

    • First plant to prevent scaling by dosing acid.

    February 2016