Photo: Water Crisis in Mexico
Mexico will embark on an ambitious effort to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in rural communities and public schools with help from two loans approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The first loan, for $350 million, will finance the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Basic Education Program, an initiative that will combine improvements in the physical infrastructure of 20,000 school properties with a comprehensive program of hygiene education and infrastructure maintenance.
The second loan, for $250 million, will finance the Program for the Sustainability of Water Supply and Sanitation Services in Rural Communities III (PROSSAPyS III, for its initials in Spanish). This program will expand piped water service to at least 630,000 people and access to a sanitation system to 450,000 people living in rural communities with less than 10,000 inhabitants.
An estimated 5.5 million rural inhabitants in Mexico lack access to safe drinking water, and 9.8 million have no sewerage connection. This is the third IDB loan in support of Mexico´s goal to close this coverage gap.
The first Water and Sanitation for Rural Communities program was approved by the IDB in 1998 for $291 million, and PROSSAPyS II was approved in 2005 for $150 million. Together, these programs benefitted some 6,000 communities (3.2 million people) with water supply projects and 2,200 communities (1.6 million people) with sanitation projects.
With the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Basic Education Program, Mexico will undertake a comprehensive effort to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in around 20,000 properties housing 22,000 schools and serving approximately 1.3 million students that have infrastructure problems and/or lack access to water.
By 2014, program activities are expected to result in a 30 percent reduction in the prevalence of diarrheal diseases in participating schools, and illness-related absenteeism is expected to drop from 17.9 percent to 12 percent.
The number of school properties that are not connected to a water system will be reduced from 7,966 to 1,980 properties.