Ivonne Liere Quevedo from Guatemala is studying for a Master’s in Water Management and Governance.
How did you hear about IHE Delft?
I studied Environmental Engineering at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala. After finishing my degree, I worked as an Environmental Manager focusing on environmental legal aspects and incident management, environmental awareness for the workers, and waste management in the agro-industrial and mining industry. After a few years of working on this, I started looking for opportunities to study abroad, and one of my colleagues gave me a brochure of the Rotary scholarship at IHE Delft. After some research, and asking a couple of friends, who had also studied at IHE Delft, about their experiences – they only told me great things about IHE Delft. So, I decided to apply to the Rotary Scholarship as well as to IHE Delft and… here I am!
What are the benefits of studying here?
I chose IHE Delft because I really liked the complete curriculum it offers: it was exactly what I was looking for. I read about IHE Delft’s additional services to students - housing, guidance, extra-curricular activities, sports, fieldtrips, etc - and that really appealed to me. I also looked at the videos made by other students, and I just fell in love with IHE Delft and Delft itself. In short, IHE Delft gives you the complete experience! The exchange of cultures, the teaching methods and approaches, the location of the institute, access to sport facilities and the amazing support you get if you are dealing with any personal problems.
Why did you choose to study in the field of water?
I have been interested in the whole water topic since I attended a lecture on water quality as part of my bachelor’s degree (back in the day). Because of my interest in this subject, I did my thesis on water quality in one of Guatemala City’s rivers, the “Teocinte river”. This study contributed to determine a baseline of this river’s state. This gave me the opportunity to work and understand all these topics: water quality, water management, water awareness and legal aspects. But it is also so broad and complex that I wanted to learn more about it.
Water-related problems in Guatemala
Guatemala has 38 basins distributed among the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. These have many beautiful rivers and lakes. In terms of laws and regulations, there is in place a wastewater regulation and a standard for drinking water quality for human consumption. In addition, there are integrated management initiatives in the basins of the southern coast with many stakeholders involved and led by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research (ICC). On the other hand, the Water Fund (FUNCAGUA) that works in the metropolitan region ensures the supply of drinking water and authorities ensure the proper management of the basins. Despite these initiatives, unfortunately most of our waterbodies are polluted due to the lack of people’s awareness... The water law is still in draft, and still waiting for approval. Additionally, there is a lot of conflict due to a lack of appropriate management in different areas of the country. In many places there is high inequality in terms of water allocation. There is still much to be done in my beautiful country!
I definitely want to go back and work in Guatemala. I want to implement everything I have learned, and put the theory into practice. Because as you can see, there is still a lot of work to be done: e.g. supporting with the generation of appropriate laws, helping improve the current water management strategies in the basins and turn them into integrated solutions that bring all the stakeholders together.
My first week and student experience
So far, it has been fantastic! One of my first impressions was that people are amazing! It is a community of international students: we all come to study and learn about water at IHE Delft, but we also get to experience new things, meet new cultures, try new foods, etc. We are all in this boat together and we support each other. I think it is an enriching exchange in all aspects, not only of cultures but also of knowledge, because everyone has different backgrounds and experiences.
I also find that professors are always quite open and helpful, if there is any doubt or request. Right now, we are studying in a type of "hybrid-mode”, meaning that we have online and face to face sessions, due to the Covid situation. Nevertheless, some of my professors have been able to make the online mode quite entertaining!
All in all, I have enjoyed this experience so far and can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!
More information about Water Management and Governance.Read more