Facilitating the Democratization of Water Ownership in Mexico’s Rural Communities

  1. Technology (http://en.cantaroazul.org/mesita-azul.html)

Working with UC Berkeley, a Mexico-based NGO called Fundación Cantaro Azul has designed and developed a technology known as “Mesita Azul”. It is an innovative water disinfection system that uses ultraviolet light, to inactivate bacteria, viruses, and protozoa with a flow rate of five liters per minute, without changing the physicochemical properties of the water such as taste and temperature. It delivers a high germicidal dose that meets the Highly Effective disinfection standard established by the WHO. This safety margin guarantees the effectiveness of the system even when it is operated under non-ideal conditions. The technology is designed to be used in rural Mexican communities where water access and quality are poor.

  1. Sustainability Problem

Fundación Cantaro Azul was founded with the mission to offer affordable and effective water treatment solutions to rural communities lacking safe drinking water. While access to potable water is a legal right in Mexico, a disproportionate number of citizens in rural areas lack basic and reliable access to water. The developer of the technology aims to empower rural communities with the ability to take control of their “water destiny”, returning potable water production capabilities to rural communities.

  1. Stakeholders
  • Partner NGOs
  • Community Leaders
  • Local Government
  • Development Aid donors
  1. Implementation Process

While the technology of UV purification of water is not a novel idea, it is the participatory and inclusive nature of the implementation process that sets the organization and this product apart. The technology is designed directly for use in marginalized communities, which allowed for greater emphasis on its aesthetic and user-friendly qualities.

Fundación Cantaro Azul should work with community leaders and complementary NGOs to couple the technology with programs to promote safe water consumption and training for potable water sale through micro-franchises operated by female entrepreneurs. Through the use of the technology for both personal consumption and income generation, the rural community will be able to realize the tangible health and economic benefits associated.


Design Research for Global Health, Design thinking + safe water: workshop report from Mexico: http://jaspal.typepad.com/mongolia/2009/08/design-thinking-safe-water-workshop-report-from-mexico.html

Fundación Cantaro Azul Profile, SVX –  Our Clients: http://www.svx.mx/our-clients/.


One thought on “Facilitating the Democratization of Water Ownership in Mexico’s Rural Communities

  1. Very important problem, and a very innovative solution. I wonder what would be the cost of technology, and how does it limit the possibility of scaling it.


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