Diffusion of Innovation: The Introduction of a Point-Of-Use Ceramic Water Filter to South Texas Colonia Residents
Buentello, Sara A.
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People living in South Texas colonias continue to face developing world living conditions. Many residents of the colonias still live without basic and fundamental utilities including running water in their homes. Worldwide lack of access to clean running water is a major social problem and found in new colonias. Research has found that point-of-use ceramic water filters (CWFs) are a viable and cost effective way to purify water and developing countries throughout the world use them today. This study employs Everett Rogers’s 1964 Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Rogers’s theory has been applied in countless studies to analyze the processes through which communities adopt new technologies or practices. One adoption technology, CWFs are made by a facility in the general area in which the residents interviewed for this study live. Results found that residents were interested in the CWF but had not been introduced to the filter and were unaware that a filter making facility was near their homes. While the focus of this study was to determine whether residents would adopt CWF technology, what came into question was why the innovation had not diffused. Research has found that a major reason attributed to a failure to diffuse is that outreach services do not rapidly adapt to the creation of new colonia residents through contact and education about the water filter. Potential adopters did show interest in the CWF when its use was explained as a part of this study. State and local resources need to be deployed to prevent communication of water-borne diseases and preserve new colonia resident’s health.