The 6 flagship projects in Mexico's 2023 water infra investment plan

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, January 03, 2023
The 6 flagship projects in Mexico's 2023 water infra investment plan

The Mexican government will allocate most of the 68.5bn-peso (US$3.5bn) 2023 budget for water authority Conagua – more than double the 33bn pesos assigned for 2022 – to six flagship projects. 

Although the government's 2023 water investment plan has been criticized for leaving out some important maintenance works, lawmakers from the governing Morena party have branded it "the highest water budget in Mexican history."

BNamericas takes a look at the six flagship projects. 

Santa María dam - 10.4bn pesos assigned for 2023

The 16.3bn-peso dam recently reached 75% progress, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose administration decided to resume works on the project two years ago.

Mexican infrastructure giant ICA is leading construction of the dam, work on which was halted under the Enrique Peña Nieto administration. The contract was awarded in 2015. 

Santa María is located on the Baluarte River in El Rosario municipality. According to the project’s cost and benefit analysis, the dam wall will have a maximum height of 153m and a length of 784m.

Agua Saludable para la Laguna - 9.1bn pesos assigned for 2023

Among the projects left to be completed this year is the 10bn-peso Agua Saludable para La Laguna, which is designed to deliver arsenic-free water to the urban area of La Comarca Lagunera, on the border of Durango and Coahuila states. 

Of the six main projects that make up the program, Conagua awarded four of them last year – for a pumping plant, two gravity flow pipelines, a diversion dam and a conventional coagulation treatment plant – leaving two others for complementary works such as trunk branches to be put out to tender in 2023. 

Yaqui irrigation district expansion - 7.5bn pesos assigned for 2023

BNamericas reported last month that the government began implementing a plan last year to build the 2bn-peso Yaqui aqueduct in Sonora state, along with a water distribution system comprising five projects to deliver 200l/s to 50 indigenous communities.

So far, Conagua has awarded five construction tenders for the pipeline network, which requires an intake at the existing Oviachi dam, a more than 180km-pipeline network that will be divided into two pumping pipelines and two gravity drive lines, a water treatment plant, a regulation tank and water delivery branches.

Meanwhile, construction contracts for the plant and intake were due to be awarded before end-2022.

Centenario irrigation channel - 3bn pesos assigned for 2023

The ongoing 8.5bn-peso project in Nayarit state involves the construction of a main canal running 60km on the Santiago River and more than 360km of additional distribution canals that will increase the irrigation capacity from 43,000ha to 50,000ha. 

The channel has not been upgraded since it was constructed in 1972, and has since deteriorated, according to Conagua. 

Plans were officially revealed in 2021. 

El Zapotillo aqueducts - 5.5bn pesos assigned for 2023

Although the 80m-tall wall of the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco state has already been completed, Conagua restarted efforts last year to resume construction of the two aqueducts to deliver water from the Verde River, where the dam was constructed, to the metropolitan area of state capital Guadalajara. 

The works comprise the El Zapotillo-El Salto aqueduct, connecting El Zapotillo in Los Altos municipality with the El Salto dam, and two stretches of the 39km El Salto-Calderón aqueduct, which will connect to Guadalajara’s distribution network. Earlier this month, Conagua launched two tenders for the second pipeline.

El Cuchillo II aqueduct - 2.8bn pesos assigned for 2023

Work on the more than 10bn-peso project in Nuevo León state, proposed by López Obrador and governor Samuel García to solve the drought crisis that hit the state last year, kicked off in September. 

Conagua seeks to complete the 100km pipeline, for which 10 local companies were awarded construction contracts, by the end of 2023 at the latest. It will have a diameter of 213cm, five pumping stations and a 465m pumping head.

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