Addressing Water Scarcity in MonterreyWed, 11/01/2017 - 09:33
Monterrey is undeniably one of Mexico’s most important economic hubs and industrial centers. According to CONAVI, Nuevo Leon took a leading position as the state that offered the highest number of new housing developments in 1H16 with over 50,000 new units thanks to its 2015 economic boom. But buried beneath all this growth is an increasing demand for water and wastewater services that are made even more complex by the city’s drastic climate conditions and the urban sprawl that inhibits proper water distribution.
Gerardo Garza, Director General of Water and Waste Management Services for Monterrey (SADM), an autonomous public utility under the government of the state of Nuevo Leon, acknowledges that Monterrey is in a difficult position. “Water subsidies have become part of the culture,” he says. “People are used to paying very little for the resource and it makes it hard to adjust the tariffs to the real cost of water and its treatment.”
By not charging the true cost of water-management services, the burden is passed from municipalities to federal authorities as the city cannot raise enough capital to bridge the gaps in the system. “These prices are not sustainable and it forces municipalities to request money from the federal budget to meet the costs of basic infrastructure,” says Garza.
To address its water-related issues, Monterrey generated various solutions and strategies, including the creation of a 2030 Water Plan as a way to mitigate the scarcity. “Plans are becoming more long term to make sure that water supply and treatment can support the economic growth of the country and cities like Monterrey, with a focus on efficiency," he says.