Third World Centre for Water Management

Communications

Policy failures prevent water quality progress in Mexico

Cecilia Tortajada

Water and Wastewater International | Volume 18 | Issue 3 | May 2003

In Mexico, the major industrial regions are highly populated and account for the highest percentage of drinking water and sewage facilities. Nationwide, only 13% of all industrial wastewaters are treated, and less than one-third of industries comply with legislation that regulates discharge quality. In 1998, industries discharged 159.48 m3/s of wastewaters, which, together with the 170 m3/s of municipal wastewaters, amounted to 329.48 m3/s of wastewater. The same year, 1,354 industrial treatment plants with a design capacity of 29.322 m3/s were operating, but only treated 21.951 m3/s of wastewater. The problem is not only the volume that is discharged untreated, but also the quality of the discharged effluent. Wastewater management legislation in Mexico must be amended to address the needs and realities of the country.

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