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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3171

Title: Economic analysis of decentralized options for providing water service to low-income settlements
Authors: Martinez, Victor
Gurian, Patrick L.
Cook, Steve R.
Keywords: affordability;decentralized systems;survey;economics
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2010
Abstract: The U.S.-Mexico border region has large numbers of unincorporated settlements lacking basic services, which are known as colonias. Sanitation and health conditions in colonias can be compared to those in third world countries. El Paso County has approximately 200 known colonias. Despite large-scale investments to extend water supply to the colonias, approximately 3500 colonia residents still lack piped water service. Extending service to these remaining residents would be prohibitively expensive. A previous study estimated that providing piped water supply would cost an average of $119,000 per lot. In this study, a representative colonia with an estimated population of 558 residents is evaluated to determine the costs of de-centralized approaches to water supply. A survey was administered to document the costs the residents currently pay for delivery by truck. Household water bills were found to average $808 annually, confirming that the predominantly low-income colonia residents pay more for water than do households served by piped water supplies. A cost comparison of the current water supply delivery cost vs. the proposed cost of well drilling was performed to determine if it is economically feasible to construct wells. The well construction option is estimated to have an initial investment of $13,980 and a capital recovery period of 6 years. Therefore, the construction of wells appears to be an appropriate option for colonia residents.
Description: A version of this paper appeared in the Proceedings of the AWWA 2009 Annual Conference and Exhibition, San Diego, CA
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3171
Appears in Collections:Faculty Research and Publications (CAEE)

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