You’ll see water everywhere in Cozumel—in the surrounding crystal clear seas, in hotel pools or falling in sheets from the rainy season clouds. But having enough water for drinking and cooking is an essential challenge for families with limited resources.
Tap water cannot be safely consumed in Cozumel so most people purchase 5-gallon jugs for about a dollar’s worth of pesos. What seems like a reasonable cost to many of us may be beyond the reach of families with limited resources.
Friends of Cozumel organizers came up with a plan: find a way for families to make their own purified water on an ongoing basis–and then teach them how to do it.
Thanks to a donation of 15 filters by Roy of the Texas Baptist Men’s organization, Friends of Cozumel was able to purchase the other needed supplies needed for the purification system. Two workshops were offered to families during this mission week, allowing them to learn about the system and then create one for their own homes.
The filtration system is relatively simple. One new, five-gallon plastic bucket sits atop a second. Tap water is poured into the top bucket that has a filter inside about the size of a softball. (Filters last about 12-18 months before replacement is needed.) The filtered water feeds into a hose that connects to a second bucket that has a spigot at the bottom. The finished, two-bucket stack sits atop a wood stand built by workshop participants.
One of the larger families that received a purification system has been purchasing two large bottles of purified water daily. This amounts to a cost of approximately 150 pesos weekly or 600 pesos monthly. Minimum wage is just 70 pesos per day ($3.93 US with the current exchange rate), so their drinking water is costing more than two day’s wages. Having their own filtration system will be a significant savings for this family.
“It’s wonderful to be able to help a family in this way” said Larry, an FOC organizer and Cozumel resident. “We’ve known Miriam and her kids for a number of years. We love being able to help them stretch their household budget.”
If you’d like to help more families create their own home filtration systems, please designate your donation to the Clean Water project. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska