Reform proposal makes a splash in Mexico's Puebla state

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

José Juan Espinosa, mayor of San Pedro Cholula municipality in Mexico's Puebla state, filed a constitutional challenge against a reform that leaves the management and provision of water services in the hands of the state government, according to a report by local outlet Proceso.

The mayor argues that the reform, which was approved by the state legislature on January 6, violates the autonomy of municipal governments, according to the report.

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Espinosa said he expects other mayors to follow suit.

The reform amended article 12 of the state constitution, which establishes water access as a right of residents, and stated that "based on the current laws, the state government will be in charge of regulating the terms and conditions for access and equitable use of water."

After the Puebla legislature approved the amendment, the reform was submitted to the state's 217 municipal governments for approval. Given that only six voted against the bill, the reform was enacted on January 27.

Those opposing the reform claim the amendment will eventually lead to the privatization of water services in the state.

"The reform is supposed to be about the right of access to water, but that is just one way to mask the real reason," Espinosa was quoted as saying.

According to article 115 of Mexico's national constitution, the management and distribution of water services is the responsibility of municipal governments.

In December, the state government of Baja California passed a water law that allowed private participation in the management and provision of water services. The move was met with widespread opposition that led to the law being repealed a few weeks later.

Mexico City, meanwhile, recently voted to maintain water services in the hands of the local government.