Thursday, March 19, 2009

mexico city's rainwater

Bloomberg | Mexico plans to tackle a chronic shortage of clean water by building an $800 million purification plant for its sprawling capital city of 20 million inhabitants.

The facility to treat 23 cubic meters (6,076 gallons) of rain and runoff each second will be announced for bid on March 31 by Conagua, the nation’s water authority, General Manager Jose Luis Luege Tamargo said in an interview yesterday.

The world’s supply of fresh water has shrunk as aquifers and waterways, including the Colorado River in the U.S., are drawn down by farmers, parched cities or water-intensive industries such as mining. The Mexican economy, Latin America’s second- largest, has failed to keep pace, and its water supplies per inhabitant have dropped by more than 75 percent since 1950.

“We are investing all we can to manage this resource,” Tamargo said in Istanbul where he attended the international World Water Forum. “Saving water is a priority.”

The triennial conference, run by the Marseille, France-based World Water Council, brings together officials from environmental groups, governments, academia and water agencies for a week of debate on solutions to water issues.

“Virtually any of the big Spanish construction companies could do this job,” said Rafael Fernandez, an analyst at Caja Madrid Bolsa in Madrid. “They all have the expertise,” he said, adding France’s Veolia Environnement SA to the group. A spokesman for the Paris-based company declined to comment.