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Mexico & Nafta - January 2019

Mexico City’s water shortages illustrate urgent need for policy overhaul

On 7 November 2018 Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) federal deputy Leticia Díaz Aguilar called on the legislature’s auditing office (Auditoria Superior de la Federación, ASF) to carry out an investigation into the national water commission (Conagua), the country’s water resources administrator. The call followed a temporary suspension of the drinking water supply in Mexico City planned for 31 October-3 November 2018 that was extended until 7 November due to complications with the repair works of the Cutzamala water distribution system that supplies the capital and neighbouring municipalities. Not only did the cuts affect residents in 13 of Mexico City’s 16 municipalities, including four where no water was supplied at all during the period, but they appear to have achieved little improvement as it turned out that a specialised section of the pipeline that cost M$500m (US$25.8m) did not work. The case attracted attention to Conagua’s apparent inability to effectively fulfil one of its main functions – to provide maintenance of the water pipeline network – but it also highlights the urgency of addressing the capital’s long-running problems with supplying clean drinking water and effective drainage systems.

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