Roundup: Minambiente update on water, sewerage works

Bnamericas Published: Monday, June 15, 2009
Colombia's government will award a 100bn-peso (US$49.7mn) project to install potable water and sewerage networks in southwestern Nariño department's Tumaco municipality on June 23, the country's environment ministry (Minambiente) reported in a release. "The tender process closed on May 23," deputy water minister Leyla Rojas said, adding that authorities are moving forward the award date to June 23. The contract is expected to be signed in mid-July and works to start in early October. "When we started to structure this project, we had 14bn pesos. Now, the contract will be awarded for more than 100bn pesos," Rojas said. Tumaco will contribute 70bn pesos to the project. In addition, 247bn pesos will be invested in the Nariño departmental water plan which will benefit 64 municipalities. "For this year, 13.9bn pesos have been assigned and agreements have already been signed with the 64 municipalities to advance the plan," Rojas said. *** At the same time, Minambiente announced the waiver of value added tax (VAT) payments in the project to build an underwater sewage pipeline in Bolívar department's Cartagena city. Cartagena's water and sewerage utility Aguas de Cartagena ( Acuacar) requested the waiver for the purchase of pipelines and other materials, which could total over 19bn pesos (US$9.43mn). Minambiente recommended that funds Acuacar does not have to pay to the contractor be invested in domestic connections. These resources could amount to some 3.39bn pesos. After reviewing the information, the project was found to comply with the technical requirements for the management of wastewater and benefits the environment, deputy water minister Leyla Rojas said. The pipeline will transport wastewater from the Punta Canoa treatment plant along 4.3km to a final disposal point located 2.8km from the coast. The project is being carried out by the consortium Chipriota-EDT Marine Construction Cartagena Outfall for 57.6bn pesos, and construction is expected to take around six months to complete. *** With the exception of Yopal and Manizales, all of Colombia's departmental capitals and 713 municipalities out of a total of 1,102 could be disqualified from receiving water and sanitation resources, Minambiente said in a release. To avoid such a scenario, deputy water minister Leyla Rojas called on districts and municipalities throughout the country to comply with domestic public services regulator requirements before June 27. "Only by doing this can municipalities continue to manage resources from the Sistema General de Participaciones [SGP] Agua [general revenue sharing system for water issues] to ensure potable water, sewerage and waste services for their inhabitants," Minambiente minister Carlos Costa said. At end-May, SGP data showed that Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and other departmental capitals have not complied with legal requisites. Meanwhile, large municipalities such as Bello, Soledad, Floridablanca and Soacha are also at risk being disqualified from receiving SGP funds. If they do not comply with the minimum requirements, the cities could lose annual resources of almost 213bn pesos, while the 713 municipalities are putting 500bn pesos at risk. In addition, the government could apply disciplinary sanctions on local authorities, Costa said.

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