Social Perceptions of Drinking Water Quality in South Texas
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The lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of Texas is one of the poorest regions with the largest population lacking suitable water supply in the entire United States. The region is characterized by low-income, rural and peri-urban communities called colonias. Nearly half of the 238,000 colonia residents face known infrastructure deficiencies in water, sanitation, or both, while nearly one-fifth have unknown water and sanitation status. In this study, water quality issues and the politics of water quality in the Lower Rio Grande Valley were examined, notably trying to assess the gap in social perceptions between key water managers and the colonia residents. A semi-structured interview methodology was used upon the key water managers in order to gather their insight on the topic. It was found that a gap in social perception did exist between the key water managers and the residents, as those interviewed saw no harm in the ingestion of the water supplied to them. Moreover, the key water managers supplied several differing opinion as to why they believed the colonia residents had the perceptions they did, among which were: the media, lack of education, the residents being overly cautious, and the surface water aesthetic problems. With the population of the region growing quickly, and only more problems seeming to be coming up in the near future, this gap in water quality perception between the key water managers and colonia residents is something that will continue.
Garcia, Victor (2011). Social Perceptions of Drinking Water Quality in South Texas. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from