Half of users with connections to the potable water system in Mexico’s federal district (DF) do not pay for the service, according to national water authority Conagua head José Luis Luege Tamargo.
While DF users pay two pesos (US$0.15) per cubic meter, those in cities such as Monterrey, Aguascalientes and Querétaro pay up to 15 pesos.
The discrepancy is an indication of the urgent need to revise the city’s water tariffs, Luege Tamargo was quoted as saying by paper El Financiero.
The DF government is currently considering a proposal to introduce a new potable water tariff system that will charge users according to their socioeconomic status, adjusting water subsidies according to both income and the amount of water consumed.
Increased tariffs would encourage more efficient water use, and would allow for greater investment in areas such as wastewater treatment, according to Luege Tamargo.
Mexico City currently treats just 6% of its wastewater, which leaves it way behind cities like Monterrey, where 100% of wastewater is treated.
The deficit is likely to shrink over the next few years, with wastewater treatment coverage in Mexico City expected to reach 60% once the Atotonilco treatment plant begins operations, Luege Tamargo said.
Atotonilco will be the world’s biggest wastewater treatment plant, with capacity to treat an average of 23m3/s, and an option to expand capacity to 42m3/s at a later stage.
The contract to build the US$710mn plant is scheduled to be awarded on December 11.
Source: BNamericas.com [subscription site], 09 Dec 2009