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Rotary Action Group Completes Project in Mexico

Published on the WASRAG website March 12

Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group

By M Calvert


The sustainability of water and sanitation projects must meet the needs of the local community. It also requires enthusiastic support and participation of the Rotary districts involved, but also the cooperation of the local governments.

A group of Rotarians in Mexico realizing the need to get local government support for water projects forged a long term agreement with government agencies before starting on their pilot projects. Four years, after a Program Planning and Performance Team from Rotary and WASRAG visited Mexico and started the process, the pilot projects are nearing completion. 

With 23% of Mexico's population living in small villages of under 2,500 people, most without access to clean water, there is a lot to do.

Making a Difference in Mexico

District 4170, based in Mexico City, worked with The Rotary Foundation and WASRAG leadership to establish a Program Planning and Performance Team (PPP Team) to help the process get started. The PPP Team consisted of Greg Bucove, Jim Goodrich, Erica Gwynn and Bob Wubbena, Team Leader.

Usually, a PPP Team focuses on needs assessment and determining the appropriate technology. In order to demonstrate that their concept of providing a sustainable water supply to whole communities was viable, they needed to complete a few pilot project examples. However, in this case, they assisted in forging relationships with federal, state and municipal governments and organizations involved in the delivery of rural water and sanitation projects. The Mexican Rotarian team knew that the long-term sustainability of these large community projects needed to have the support of the local governments.

The PPP Team visited Mexico in March 2014 and helped build the framework for agreements with local governments. Originally the focus was on the State of Oaxaca and the State of Mexico. For a variety of reasons, pilot projects were unable to get established in these regions. However, the Mexican Rotarian team learned a lot.

In May 2017, The Rotary Foundation approved a Global Grant for the State of Morelos. Now with the grant approved and the local government agreement in place, the projects started moving forward.

Municipality of Ayala, Morelos State Project

          This project consisted of providing clean water to marginalized people in three rural communities in Morelos State. The people were getting water at an inflated price once a week from a tanker truck, or from irrigation canals contaminated with agrochemical runoff.

A good well and storage tank was already available. What was missing was a distribution system and water meters to monitor usage. Over 9,000 feet of PVC pipe was laid to distribute the water.

Almost 300 people will benefit from this project. Municipality of Xochitepec, Morelos State Project In 2015, a deep well was dug to provide reliable clean water to the community of 350 residents. In the village of Xochitepec connections were provided to the homes of all the residents.

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