It isn’t just a matter of having the right technology or the right treatment process. It’s also about having the appropriate institutional arrangements to support a coherent and strong sanitation policy.
Of course, sustained and efficient wastewater treatment cannot be achieved without technological advances and appropriate industrial treatment processes.
National Inventory of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (2002)
Data from the NIMWTP indicates that there are 1,448 municipal wastewater treatment plants currently treating around 34,303 l/s.
Over 40% of the total Mexican population is not connected to a wastewater treatment plant.
Still well below our targets…
Coordination agreement (1989)
Emphasizes the need for council basins
Establishes a basin-wide council
Lerma-Chapala Basin Council (1993)
Basin councils are supposed to be spaces of discussion and coordination between all three levels of government (federal, state and municipal).
Basin councils include user representatives, with an aim of executing programmes and actions devoted to enhance water management, hydraulic infrastructure development and resource management within the watershed.
Technical aquifer councils
User associations with a mandate for sustainable groundwater use.
Institutions serve to give stable structures to human interactions and to reduce uncertainty.
Institutions foster coordination among all stakeholders.
Specific to wastewater treatment policy
The fact that a user can get away with not treating water he/she has polluted indicates that there is no appropriate rule, incentive structure and enforcement mechanism to force the user to stop polluting and/or treat wastewater.
If each one of the groups who have access to water were left to themselves, they would only give priority to their own needs given that there are no coordination mechanisms in place (the commons problem)
We should be able to design expected behavior from each and everyone of the stakeholders, with clearly defined rights and responsibilities.
Responsibilities should include “Polluter-Pays” Principle.
Participation in this meeting was possible thanks to a grant from the National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico (CONACyT) and the Council of Science and Technology of Guanajuato (CONCYTEG) to the project “ Evaluación de Políticas y Programas dentro de la Cuenca Lerma-Chapala ” ( Evaluation of Policies and Programs within the Lerma-Chapala Basin ) (Grant Number GTO-04-C02-106).
Participants in the III Encuentro de Investigadores de la Cuenca Lerma-Chapala-Santiago (October 2004, Chapala, Mexico), the Workshop on Institutional Analysis for Environmental Decision-Making (January 2005, Fort Collins CO)