Mario Romero

Diversifying from Water Tanks

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 09:51

Rotoplas’ water tanks are an omnipresent feature across Mexico, and continue to be one of the company’s biggest products, driven by water scarcity. But the company’s newest segment, water treatment, is its fastest growing, with a range of products and solutions for water treatment and recycling. Mario Romero, CFO of Rotoplas says this is the segment the company is now focusing on. “Consumers are leaning toward buying water purifiers instead of purchasing water bottles, boosting the demand for new home solutions,” he says. “Rotoplas is committed to changing the way we think about water and creating sustainable solutions for future generations.”

Water tanks allowed Rotoplas to build a strong brand among Mexican consumers. The challenge the company is facing now is changing the consumer mindset to incorporate an array of products. “Today, water tanks represent no more than 30 percent of our total sales, and we continue to diversify our products,” he says. “As we continue our efforts toward sustainable water, consumers will change their thoughts on what Rotoplas does.”

Water scarcity is a worldwide problem, aggravated by three different factors: population growth, migration into urban areas and the direct increase of water-consumption levels as incomes rise. The fact that demand is growing too fast is creating stress on water availability.

Each country has its particular problems and in Mexico’s case, Romero says the infrastructure has not been properly maintained throughout the years, which poses a major challenge. “For instance, the processes to bring water into Mexico City and remove sewage are extremely inefficient,” he says. “The city’s water has to be pumped from 500km away, meaning 40 percent of the water is lost through leaks.”

Mexico City will continue to grow exponentially, with a projected population of more than 30 million by 2030. At the moment, each person uses more than 250 liters of water a day for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing, and this number will only increase in the years to come. In Mexico, only 30 percent of water is treated and only 1 percent is recycled.

The country aditionally has to worry about the fact that renewable water availability dropped 79 percent between 1950 and 2014 from 17,742 cubic meters to 3,736 cubic meters per inhabitant and will keep dropping. Mexico's environmental agency also estimates that 9 million Mexicans do not have access to potable water.

Mexico agreed to change this percentage at COP21, where it committed to treating 100 percent of its water and recycling at least 20 percent by 2030. Rotoplas is focused on solving potential water issues by adapting sustainable solutions for the future.

Rotoplas aims to continue finding new ways to treat and recycle wastewater, which applies to both horizontal and vertical construction since usage levels remain the same. He says that creating the proper infrastructure to manage and transport wastewater in cities is not only difficult, but extremely expensive. “We must start recycling and treating our water locally,” he says. “By 2030, Mexico has agreed to change its water habits and recycle more water.” This is an area where he sees the greatest opportunities for Rotoplas’ growth.

Today, it is compulsory for all new construction, from office buildings to commercial centers, to build their own water-treatment plants. The problem, says Romero, is that the vast majority of these are not correctly operated, making it hard to recycle the water.

Rotoplas now offers O&M services for plants to ensure the water can be recycled. “We have some clients that can recycle up to 70 percent of their water,” he explains. “The government can no longer afford to subsidize water and as prices continue to rise, people are beginning to take a closer look at their water bills.”

But even as the largest player in point-of-entry watertreatment and recycling plants in Mexico, Rotoplas is constantly looking for ways to improve its products. It recently acquired an innovation center in Canada with unique water-treatment and recycling technology. “Our goal is for all houses to have our products to recycle and treat water, which we feel is a more efficient way of solving water scarcity and sanitation issues,” says Romero. “Each day, more cities and companies are realizing that this is the path we must take to create a more sustainable country and Rotoplas is ready to work alongside them.”