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The Michoacán state government, the environment ministry (Semarnat) and the Mexican water technology institute (IMTA) have endorsed the program to clean up the basin of Pátzcuaro lake, the state government website reported.
The agreement to back the program to clean up the basin, which measures around 1,000 sq km, was signed by state governor Lázaro Cárdenas, Semarnat official Adrián Vázquez, IMTA director Álvaro Aldama and the mayors of Quiroga, Pátzcuaro, Huiramba, Erongarícuaro and Tzintzuntzan.
"The project will cost approximately 129mn pesos [US$12.3mn] next year and the following year to improve wastewater treatment," a state water commission (CEAGC) official told BNamericas.
"We are building latrines and two [wastewater] treatment plants in Erongarícuaro and Tzintzuntzan and repairing two others [wastewater treatment plants] in Quiroga and Janitzio and those works will be completed by end-2007," he added.
The works to be carried out in the region also include "plans for reforestation of the area around the lake, cleanup and protection of water sources and rivers in the basin, and construction of wetlands, which we have already been doing," the official added.
Although the largest town in the area, Pátzcuaro, does have a wastewater treatment plant, the other towns in the basin and farmers in the region discharge wastewater directly into the 10,000ha lake, causing serious pollution.
This year around 12mn pesos has been spent in the Pátzcuaro area to help restore the basin, including construction of a sanitary landfill site, reforestation and improvements to water infrastructure, according to state urbanism and environment secretary César Flores.
Halting the degradation of the hydrological resources of the state is a priority of governor Cárdenas' administration, added Flores, blaming the discharge of untreated waste as one of the main reasons for this degeneration.
The goal of the current state government is to be treating 80% of wastewaters by the time it hands over power in March 2007, said Flores.