Water Infrastructure and Sanitation on the U.S.-Mexico Border

At a Glance:

Location: Presidio, Texas

Date: 2016

Vital Condition: Thriving Natural World

Determinants of Health: clean air, clean water, clean water

Affected Population: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Older Adults, People Living in Poverty, People with Chronic and Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

Research Methods: Quantitative research, Literature review

Community Types: rural

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The University of Texas, El Paso conducted an HIA focused on water infrastructure to help the city of Presidio, Texas, decide whether to extend its water system to the neighboring colonia* of Las Pampas, which lacks a treated water supply. Inadequate access to safe water puts people at greater risk of gastrointestinal illnesses such as Giardia infections and dysentery, as well as hepatitis and dehydration. Improved local water systems may lead to higher property values and higher tax revenue, which can be used to support services that can foster better health, such as clinics and social services.

*The Texas secretary of state defines a colonia as a residential area along the Texas-Mexico border that may lack basic living necessities, such as potable water and sewer systems, electricity, paved roads, and safe and sanitary housing.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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