Wholesales Changes Needed to Tackle Water ShortageTue, 11/01/2016 - 16:31
In a country like Mexico that suffers from severe water shortages, adequate treatment is essential. Mexico City, where one out of every six Mexicans lives and works, does not have any natural water source and must pump it in from neighboring states. As the shortage becomes more pronounced, the private and public sectors have a responsibility to work together to develop the infrastructure and technology needed to maximize the available resources, says Antonio López, Director General of Aclara.
The Mexican water treatment plant manufacturer and designer, which has installed more than 500 plants across Mexico, the US and Latin America, is well aware of the scale of the problem. López believes that water handling processes in Mexico require wholesale changes to sufficiently tackle the issue. “Water treatment processes in Mexico are not sufficiently developed,” he says. “Currently only 37-40 percent of the country’s water is properly treated. It is a big problem.”
For López, an important contributing factor is that companies in Mexico are simply not clued-up on how to handle their water supply. Although executives may have good intentions to maximize their resources, without the necessary knowledge, technology and infrastructure this cannot be achieved. This is true for the public and private sector in equal measure, according to Lopez.
“Most of our clients are not aware of the regulations with which they have to comply, the standards they have to meet and the potential sanctions they could be subjected to if they do not act accordingly,” he says. “Many government officials, particularly at a municipal level, also are oblivious to the resources available to them.”
One of the most important requirements that Mexican companies have to meet is detailed in the NOM 003 SEMARNAT 1997, which states that treated water must be safe for indirect and direct human usage. To help corporates comply, Aclara has developed the Aclara 003 treatment model, which enables users to apply the treated water to a whole range of services from gardening and car washing to washrooms and showers. Thanks to its multifunctional characteristics, this is the most popular of the company’s six treatment models but López believes that the Mexican culture of opting for the most convenient option has to change if the country is to emerge from its water crisis.
“Unfortunately many companies want the cheapest available solution when they decide to invest in water treatment but the cheapest options on the market are particularly poor quality,” says López. “Few companies design plants that comply with all the necessary regulations and provide a quality, fairly priced service.”
To thrive in the market here, Aclara has had to be adaptable and flexible. Verticalization, an increasingly popular phenomenon in Mexico City as building space within the capital’s volcanic perimeter runs out, has forced the company to pivot away from their standardized designs, models and plants to provide unique solutions to its clients’ specific challenges.
“We have developed new plant models, including the Aclara Plantas PAQUETE, which are portable and more compact than our traditional solutions,” López says. “These designs are completely adjustable to a project’s size, location and specification, allowing the user to handle water in a much smaller space than previously possible.”
Despite the significant strides the company has made, López insists that the country lacks the infrastructure that Aclara and its competitors need to design their treatment plants. The government must support waterhandling companies through maintenance and operation, as well as building and designing new plants themselves. Only then will the country provide a more reliable water service and be in a position to get on top of the problem.
“The government helps corporates fulfill the water requirements,” he says. “But unfortunately it does not support companies like Aclara that design and construct the treatment plants. This has to change.”