Water needs its own ministry, says college of engineers

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mexico needs to create a new ministry specifically to deal with water resources, according to the Mexican college of civil engineers CICM.

"Water is the only public resource in Mexico that does not have a dedicated government ministry and this needs to change," said Elias Sahab, director of CICM's water committee, during a presentation of CICM's proposals for a 2013-2018 national infrastructure plan.

Government ministries already exist to deal with the environment, education, energy and public health, and water needs to be given the same level of priority, according to CICM.

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The responsibility to develop water resources for the benefit of the country and to plan infrastructure projects should lie with the highest level of government, Sahab said.

The provision of resources is currently patchy due to the division of responsibility between national water authority Conagua and state and municipal governments. A national ministry could oversee and coordinate resources.

The main challenge facing water infrastructure in Mexico is to balance population growth and the increasing demand for water with protection of existing resources. This challenge requires a radical change in the scope and scale of projects being planned, Sahab added.