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EMPOWERING THE OVERLOOKED: PROVIDING DECISION-MAKING SKILLS AND TOOLS FOR SMALL POTABLE WATER SYSTEMS IN PUERTO RICO

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Just as on the mainland, public water systems in Puerto Rico are subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) administered by US EPA and the local primacy agency. Puerto Rico has an island-wide authority (PRASA). PRASA is charged by the laws of Puerto Rico with providing water and sewer service to all citizens. Not surprisingly, this is not physically possible and many small, privately owned community water supplies exist throughout the island and most do not meet minimum requirements for safe potable water treatment. Over the past 12 years RCAP Solutions, CDR and UIPR have worked to implement the primacy agency's Capacity Development Strategy, to help these communities recognize their need to ensure the quality of the water they provide and the efficacy of existing regulations in doing this. Economics and education are not the only bars to compliance – the community organization or structure can keep the community from addressing compliance issues. Recognition of these facts produced a number of initiatives over the last 10 years to try to reach these systems. Those outreach efforts are often mistaken for strategies and involved, mainly, system operators or infrastructure improvements. In many instances these activities were limited to providing technical assistance. These were, in turn, confused with capacity development; unfortunately, providing a plan for a community does not ensure that the community can plan, or even implement the plan provided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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