UV disinfection is a promising household technology in Mexico because many households have both electricity and piped water (although it is not necessarily contamination free) in their homes. The UV-Tube team has worked in Mexico for several years on a number of different projects.
Mexico with GIRA
The UV-Tube was first developed by Dr. Connelly in the villages surrounding Lake Pátzcuaro, Mexico. In the summer and fall of 2002, we collaborated with a local NGO, the Interdisciplinary Rural and Appropriate Technology Group (GIRA). Volunteers at a community workshop in Pátzcuaro each assembled one "el tUVo," a UV-Tube using a PVC pipe lined with stainless steel.
We provided GIRA with background materials on UV disinfection and the UV-Tube and assisted in purchasing materials and planning a community education and construction workshop. GIRA identified a group of participants who were willing to take part in the workshop, install the UV-Tube they built, and allow us to test the UV-Tube’s performance biweekly. The one-day workshop combined discussion of the water/health connection and construction of a UV-Tube.
Each volunteer was provided with parts, tools and an illustrated construction manual. Each successfully constructed their own UV-Tube. These UV-Tubes were installed in residences and tested for water quality, durability, and user-friendliness. The users provided suggestions for improving the design.
Mexico with IMTA
The Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA/) in Cuernavaca, Mexico researches new technologies trains local citizens about the management, conservation, and remediation of water. In January 2003, the UV-Tube project team presented the first UV-Tube design to IMTA investigators as an inexpensive household treatment option. IMTA perfomed laboratory validation of the UV-Tube according to the Mexican standard for point of use drinking water treatment technologies. Graduate students at IMTA then improved the UV-Tube design and are currently field-testing three UV-Tubes near Cuernavaca where public electricity and piped (but microbiologically unsafe) water are available.
Mexico with CONAFE
The National Council for the Promotion of Education (CONAFE), is a Mexican development organization located in Baja California Sur that seeks to address inequities through improved education. While their main function is to provide primary education in small rural communities in Mexico, they also support community based development projects.
In the summer of 2004, six Berkeley students on the "Agua SALud" project team worked with CONAFE during summer 2004 to test drinking water sources in the communities of Baja California Sur. Their water testing results confirmed that more than half of the population drink water containing fecal contamination. As part of the Agua SALud project, the Berkeley students encountered rural residents who had a great interest in alternative options to disinfect water at the household level.
In response to the need for point-of-use water disinfection systems, the Agua SALud team collaborated with researchers working for the UV Tube project to design a UV Tube pilot study for rural communities with the support of CONAFE. For the study, the UV Tube design was adapted to use locally available materials and improve its aesthetic appeal, resulting in a household unit called the “AquatUVo.”