Posted by MCalvert on Mar 12, 2018
Making a Difference in Mexico
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
A passionate and dedicated group of Rotarians in Mexico are committed to making a difference in the lives of over 27 million Mexicans who live in rural villages of under 2,500 people. Their goal is to use pilot projects to provide an example to Rotary International that all Areas of Focus are achievable and sustainable in small communities with people living in high and very high marginal conditions. 
In the July 2016 issue of the WASRAG Newsletter we had an article that said, “after two years of negotiations, Rotary represented by Mexico's District 4170, WASRAG and the Mexican National Water Commission (CONAGUA) signed a 5-year agreement.” We thought it was good to get an update on what strides are being made in Mexico.
First, let’s take a step back. Most Rotary projects in Mexico in the past have been small water, latrine and hygiene education projects. A group of Mexican Rotarians, coordinated by Marcos Calvert, WASRAG Ambassador, knew that in order to address the significant water and sanitation needs of rural people in Mexico they needed to tackle larger scale projects and bring a reliable supply of clean water to whole communities.
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.
This well infrastructure not only benefits the people of the village but over 6,000 people in the area where this is the only water source. The plan is to connect these families to the water source in the future.
These pilot projects demonstrate how this group can coordinate all the different partners to implement water projects in the rural areas of Mexico. Once the pilot project is complete in District 4185, the concept will be expanded to the othe six Rotary Districts in Mexico. 
Other sustainable projects that mirror the Rotary Areas of Focus will be introduced in the same municipalities once the water project is complete. These projects will be introduced with the assistance of universities, technical institutions, and NGOs.
To learn more about these projects or to get involved in helping fund future projects, contact WASRAG Ambassador Marcos Calvert at