11 July 2006

No free water in Aguascalientes

The Aguascalientes legislature killed a proposed change to the state capital's water regime, which is privately operated. Unlike many places in Mexico, the waterworks in Aguascalientes (known locally as CAASA) cuts service to delinquent customers. The unsuccessful bill would have outlawed the practice. (Neighboring Jalisco forbids cutting service; an estimated 40 percent of the water bills in the Guadalajara area go unpaid.)

Water privatization raises hackles of outrage, but the benefits of the for-profit scheme in Aguascalientes are hard to deny. Aguascalientes, an industrial city in the middle of the country, draws water from a rapidly shrinking aquifer. Yet, through investments in infrastructure and efficiency improvements, the CAASA now serves more customers than it did in 1994, but extracts less water from its wells.

I visited Aguascalientes earlier this year and wrote a large feature on its waterworks that was published just prior to the World Water Forum's opening. Read it here.

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