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Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012

Baja California's municipalities get nation's highest ratings on efficient use of water

     Tecate, Mexicali and Ensenada are the top rated municipalities in Mexico in terms of efficient use of water, according to the National Water Commission (Conagua).

     Tijuana was in seventh place. Ad in Frontera (PDF).

      Tecate was given a rating of 86%, Mexicali 77%, Ensenada 73% and Tijuana, 69%. Tijuana's water agency also serves Rosarito.

      Cozumel was fourth at 72%, Monterrey sixth at 71%. The capital of Sonora state, Hermosillo, was 16th at 46%. The list was composed of muncipalities of 50,000 or more inhabitants, and came from Conagua's 2012 report, which does not appear to be available online yet.

      A study by Alejandro Salazar Adams and América N. Lutz Ley on the inefficiency of water use in Mexico had found Mexicali, Tijuana, Aguascalientes and Culiacán had become quite efficient in their water use, while most other municipalities had inefficient water use. The stud said those becoming most efficient in their water use tended to be big municipalities with higher incomes in the north that had a limited water supply and higher water costs. It cautioned that a lot of the available data was unreliable. The Salazar-Lutz study: "La década perdida: la eficiencia de los organismos operadores de agua potable en México 2002–2008." (PDF) ("The Lost Decade: Efficiency of potable water providers in Mexico 2002-2008").

     Nicolás Pineda Pablos and Hugo Briseño Ramírez in a report issued this year said Baja California water agency rules and practices have meant that Baja California is much more efficient in water use than Sonora state. In general, local water agency chiefs have served longer in Baja California municipalites, and they also are appointed by the governor, who serves six years. In Sonora, the local water agency directors are appointed by by local mayors, who serve three years. Baja California also charges much more for water than Sonora. In Baja California's case, it probably also helps that the governor is the former head of the state water agency. "¿Por qué son mejores los organismos de agua de Baja California que los de Sonora?" Published in Región y Sociedad Número Especial 3, 2012 by El Colegio de Sonora. "Why are the water agencies in Baja California better than those in Sonora?"

     Update, Oct. 4: Not all is well with the Baja California water system. Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo says his municipality will not pay the state the 29 million pesos the state says it owes for water over the last six years. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).