Annual water theft in Chile’s metropolitan region equals the consumption of 33,000 families. Over 8Mm3 of water are stolen in the region every year by people tampering with water meters. Criminal groups offer to tamper with meters for about 15,000 pesos (US$30).
Read full article on: BNamericas.com [subscription site], 12 Feb 2010
In January 2010, the president of Sedapal, the state water utility agency, Guillermo León, was accused of too easily awarding a 13.6 million soles ( US$ 4.75 million) contract to TFKC Reprex in December 2008, a company formed just one month prior to the controversial contract selection as a representative of Brazilian Puritech. The contract was awarded for the construction of two waste water treatment plants in San Bartolo, southern Lima.
Following the controversy, Guillermo León resigned from his post as the president of Sedapal.
The scandal has led to suspicions of corruption in other tenders worth some 700 million soles (US$ 245 million).
Sedapal workers’ union head Henry Viera highlighted the need for an independent third party to oversee tender processes.
Source: Peruvian Times, 12 Feb 2010 ; BNamericas.com [subscription site], 11 Feb 2010 ; BNamericas.com [subscription site],
Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC) has lost over J$1bn (US$11.4mn) in revenue in 2009 due to fraud and theft, paper the Jamaica Observer reported [15 Sep 2009].
“The commission is losing significant revenue due to theft and fraud from consumers and, unfortunately, there are some cases of theft and fraud which occur with the collusion of employees. Lost revenue is in excess of J$1bn,” NWC communications manager Charles Buchanan was quoted as saying.
The most recent case involved NWC zone team leader Carlton Bogle, who is expected to appear in court on October 6 after being charged with 34 counts of fraud. An internal audit by NWC revealed that Bogle had amassed J$1.25mn between 2005 and 2008 by writing false bills.
Other instances of fraud include employees using company cards to pay for gas which was then used for private purposes.
The company is also trying to deal with illegal water connections.
Last week police and NWC staff disconnected 18 illegal connections from the Malvern pipeline that were being used to water both legal and illegal crops in southwestern parish St Elizabeth.
The theft of water from the Malvern pipeline has had serious effects on the farming belt of St Elizabeth.
Illegal connections affect legitimate customers, including farmers who are dependent on the supply, as both the pressure and the quality of water drops, according to the NWC.
Source: BNamericas.com [subscription site], 17 Sep 2009
Corruption and insufficient resources, both technical and financial, are hindering the development of adequate wastewater treatment in Mexico, environmental law academy AMDA chairman Ramón Ojeda said. “The Mexican wastewater treatment experience is one of the biggest failures in Latin America. Currently, there is not one public or private water treatment plant that is working 100% correctly – in the entire country,” Ojeda said. “The culprit is corruption, which has deceived state and municipal authorities”.
Ojeda said authorities have built several facilities, but they are not enough to guarantee the adequate sanitation of water resources. “Authorities are unable to decide the kind of facility that needs to be installed, resulting in under-investment in the area. Meanwhile, big commissions are offered to the private sector to treat water, but these private facilities do not process the water adequately,” he said. “As a result, the water quality is practically the same after treatment, but private operators continue to charge. The public sector debt [from financing these projects] mounts up and the quality of water does not change,” Ojeda argued. [T]he situation is especially serious in Morelos and Puebla states, where large quantities of water resources are contaminated with oils, detergents, organic materials and even industrial residues, [he said].
In July , Mexican President Felipe Calderón launched a [2.2bn pesos (US$219mn)] national program to stimulate the construction and operation of wastewater treatment plants. [...] Of this total, 700mn pesos is to be destined to construction and rehabilitation, and 1.5bn pesos to operating and maintenance of treatment plants.
[...] In Mexico, only a little over 30% of wastewater is currently treated, in spite of the nearly 200 treatment plants that exist nationwide.
Source: Renzo Dasso, Business News Americas, 27 Oct 2008
A police investigation found a criminal scheme to divert funds intended for the construction of low-income housing and sewage treatment plants in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Following complaints published in the local press, an inspection conducted by the federal audit court TCU in 29 municipalities of Minas Gerais found evidence of fraud in the execution of works.
The investigation was part of Operation João de Barro on 20 June 2008, aimed at investigating alleged fraud in the federal government’s growth acceleration plan PAC. The police had 231 search warrants and 38 arrest warrants for projects carried out in 7 states as well as the federal district (where capital Brasília is located). Roughly 1,000 federal officers participated in the operation.
Source: BNamericas.com [subscription site], 23 Jun 2008
Colombia’s deputy water minister, Leyla Rojas, announced that the government will invest US$ 599 million in waterworks in five departments during 2008. With support from the Andean Development Corporation, the government expects all 32 departments to have master water plans, covering water for human consumption, irrigation and industrial activities as well as sewerage and wastewater treatment , by 31 December 2008.
Rojas spoke during a national water forum, during which President Álvaro Uribe launched the Agua Transparente [transparent water] program, which aims to control the funding used in water projects and the implementation of initiatives, as well as supervising tenders related to water projects, in an effort to avoid corruption.
Source: Business News Americas [subscription site], 12 Mar 2008
[Photo: Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Rodriguez]