Space Foundation News

Saving Lives in Mexico: Space Foundation Certified Space Technology™ Purifies Water Here on Earth

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IHI AeroSpace LogoA Space Foundation Certified Space Technology™  is helping save lives among the poorest – and youngest – residents of Chiapas, Mexico.

The southernmost state of Mexico, Chiapas is located toward the southeast of the country, bordering Guatemala to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Chiapas has an area of about 28,653 sq mi. and in the 2005 Mexican census the population was 4,293,459 people. Chiapas is home to the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, Chinkultic, and Toniná. About one quarter of the population is of full or predominantly Mayan descent, and in rural areas many residents do not speak Spanish. Chiapas is one of the poorest states in Mexico, but has an abundance of natural beauty. The mountain climate is ideal for growing coffee, and the export of organically grown coffee is now a major source of income, as is the recent growth in eco-tourism.

Although there is an abundant supply of water, it is not potable. In the small rural communities in the mountains there is no ready supply of drinking water. There are over 15,000 villages of 300 people or less. The State Government of Chiapas, led by the popular Governor Juan Sabines, has initiated a program to bring potable water to these small rural communities. The infant mortality rate in Chiapas is three times higher than for Mexico as a whole and diarrheal diseases caused by contaminated drinking water is a prime contributor.

The “Discovery” water purification system from Water Security Corporation is being installed in over 400 villages. This is the first phase of what is envisioned as a long term program to serve the population with safe, clean drinking water.

For the first time, these communities will have ready access to safe drinking water. The “Discovery” features Space Certified Technology – the purification resins were developed for NASA and have been on all Space Shuttles and currently are in the water recycling system on the International Space Station. A key feature of the system is that no power is required for disinfection so many installations use a simple gravity-fed system.