Meeting the Need for Safe Drinking Water in Rural Mexico through Point-of-Use Treatment
Millions of rural Mexicans risk contracting serious diseases every time they drink water. Building centralized treatment and distribution systems for every community is cost-prohibitive and time consuming. In contrast, inexpensive and rapidly deployable technologies designed to disinfect water at the point-of-use (POU) are now available. Unfortunately, Mexican water institutions have thus far not taken advantage of these technologies. The trend toward decentralization has shifted the responsibility for water provision to local authorities without providing the resources they need to achieve success. Several federal agencies, including the Secretary of Health (SSA) and the Secretary of Social Development (SEDESOL), have active outreach programs in local communities across the nation and could be highly effective at implementing POU technologies. In this paper we argue that POU technologies, implemented by federal agencies in cooperation with states and municipalities, have a crucial role to play in making safe drinking water available throughout rural Mexico.