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Water source, use and cost in a context of poverty : a case study of Tlamacazapa, Guerrero, Mexico

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Title: Water source, use and cost in a context of poverty : a case study of Tlamacazapa, Guerrero, Mexico
Author: Wenman, Christine
Degree: Master of Science in Planning - MSc (Plan)
Program: Planning
Copyright Date: 2012
Issue Date: 2012-10-03
Publisher University of British Columbia
Abstract: A grounded case study in Tlamacazapa, Guerrero, Mexico is analyzed to document residents’ experiences of obtaining water. Twenty households participated in a detailed journaling exercise over two years to document water access, quantity, sources, uses and costs. The work revealed that the majority of Tlamacazapa residents access insufficient water to meet consumption, sanitation and hygiene needs, let alone productive purposes. Water from most sources is impure, falling short of national standards. Inconsistency in piped water network supply increases vulnerability and reduces health benefits that might otherwise be achieved through infrastructure improvements. Economic and opportunity costs are high both as a ratio to income and in absolute terms illustrating that the poor pay more for water. The resulting situation presents grave health risks for the community. In spite of water contamination and documented low levels of access, Tlamacazapa is considered to have an ‘improved’ water supply according to proxy indicators used both in national and international statistics. These indicators both reflect and perpetuate a focus on physical infrastructure at the expense of the people and processes that that they are intended to serve. The retrenchment of the state in water governance, encouraged through global policy and mirrored in Mexican legislation, has resulted in insufficient support for institutions and capacity building. The case study of Tlamacazapa suggests that the cost of such misguided policy, both in Mexico and globally, will be great both in terms of wasted infrastructure investments and human lives.
Affiliation: Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/43336
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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