Mexico City, Dec 23 (EFE).- The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) facilitated access to water for more than 6,000 families from 44 rural and indigenous communities in central and southeastern Mexico, thereby addressing a health-threatening problem the coronavirus pandemic brought to light.
The project, carried out in conjunction with the Fundación FEMSA and Ayuda en Acción México, focused on the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tabasco and Yucatán, according to a statement from the UN.
“COVID-19 revealed the lack of access to potable water services, as well as the water needs and vulnerability of more than five million people in Mexico, mainly in rural areas and indigenous regions,” the statement said.
With a total investment of eight million pesos (about $408,000), the organizations implemented 321 actions in 44 locations, reaching approximately 23,000 people and ensuring that each beneficiary family had access to 200 liters (53 US gallons) per day.
The actions included the installation of rainwater harvesting systems, the repair and installation of replacement parts in the public potable water network and improved water supply and distribution at the household level.
They also focused on the installation of hand washing stations, installation of water purification filters, strategic reforestation in areas of hydric recharge, and environmental protection of natural water sources.
“Ecotechnologies also allowed us to ensure the conservation of ecosystems and benefit the entire environment. Together, we promote the right to water access, today and tomorrow, for the new generations,” Ayuda en Acción México Managing Director Tania Rodríguez explained.
FEMSA Chief of Sustainable Development Programs, Carlos Hurtado, stressed “the strong link between water and health, from hand washing to its intake and use in food production and preparation,” facts that were brought to light by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the people living in these communities were technically trained to install, maintain and repair the new water infrastructure.
According to testimonials of beneficiary people collected in the UN statement, the project allowed water to reach all the homes in the town of Acalapa, in the state of Puebla. It prevented women in other places from having to walk long distances to get access to water.
“We women are the most interested in resolving the lack of water. We walk among hills to reach the spring, carrying 40 liters (nearly 11 US gallons weighing 90 pounds) and a child on our backs. (Now) we don’t have that daily concern, we take that weight off our backs,” stressed an unidentified member of the Women’s Water Committee for the town of Luquilhó, in the southern state of Chiapas. EFE