Online Program

Improved drinking water infrastructure in indigenous communities: A framework for inclusion of cultural beliefs and community participation in planning clean water projects

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paula Stigler, MSPH, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Penelope J.E. Quintana, PhD, MPH, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Richard Gersberg, PhD, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Many programs currently exist worldwide to implement and create improved water systems for clean, potable water in rural and indigenous communities. However, many water improvement programs and infrastructures fail due to a lack of adequate research, community involvement and understanding of community cultural beliefs regarding water and water management. Currently there is greater evidence demonstrating the need for integrated approaches to water management that simultaneously take into account more variables than just technical capacity. The need for a change in how water resources are managed, especially drinking water infrastructure, is becoming increasingly important especially in the areas of participatory management, collaborative decision-making and understanding community specific cultural beliefs. Many planners and community advocates are beginning to recognize the importance of community engagement and understanding that the success of water improvement projects and public health benefits are interdependent with community acceptance. This presentation will discuss a newly developed framework for better understanding how cultural beliefs and community practices play a role in the outcome of the acceptability and sustainability of drinking water infrastructure system. An example of improved water infrastructure projects from two Kumeyaay indigenous communities in Northern Baja California, Mexico will be used to illustrate the practical uses of such a framework and the implications of these findings for informing future water infrastructure projects in indigenous communities both locally and globally.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss and design a framework for sustainable implementation of drinking water systems in tribal communities; Evaluate the effectiveness of community participation when planning for tribal water infrastructure improvements.

Keyword(s): Drinking Water Quality, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on tribal and indigenous environmental health projects for the last 11 years. I am completing my PhD in environmental global health with my research focusing on water projects in indigenous communities, including access to water and sustainable water infrastructure.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.