Was water really privatized in Mexico?

The supposed privatization of the water occurred on June 5 of this year, days before the soccer match between Mexico and Germany. However, how true is this?

Was water really privatized in Mexico?

Last Sunday, July 17, Mexico won against Germany, the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion. Multiple cries were heard in the street and the country was paralyzed in the minutes that lasted the game. Throughout the day the celebration seemed to have no end, and for a few hours, the political tensions and negativity seemed to have vanished. However, almost at the end of the day, the alleged privatization of 55% of the country's water aquifers was published on social networks. But what is true about this speculation, and what are the political implications of the World Cup context and the political climate of the Mexican State?

Leer en español: ¿Realmente se privatizó el agua en México?

The supposed privatization of the water occurred on June 5 of this year, days before the soccer match between Mexico and Germany. The following day, ten decrees were published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación, in Spanish) that eliminate the closures of 295 hydrological basins in Mexico, an action that aims to preserve the environment and the vital resource for the consumption of future generations.

This act was motivated by the international recommendations of the International Water Resources Association and the World Resources Institute, organisms that over the years have worked for the preservation of water in the world. However, specialists in the subject affirm that the elimination of the closures opens the possibility for the future to be used for lucrative purposes, preventing the conservation of the environment and benefiting the interests of transnational corporations.

Without a doubt, the federal government in Mexico was very specific in that these decrees were made under legal mechanisms and with the intention of preserving water. However, there are legal possibilities for the water resource to be granted to mining and extractive industries. On the one hand, each of the basins is located in different states of the federation, so that each governor, under his legal autonomy, could grant concessions to individuals who use water for commercial purposes. On the other hand, the government did not take IGNORE INTO account the self-determination of indigenous peoples in Mexico, since the rivers and lakes on which their subsistence depends have been released to serve the national interest of a state that governs differently from their customs and traditions.

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In addition to the above, civil associations argue that with these decrees priority will be given to urban water systems, given the industrial nature of our economy. This not only violates the rights of indigenous peoples but also of rural communities that depend on agriculture and livestock.

Despite this, the federal government and the National Water Commission (Comisión Nacional del Agua, in Spanish) firmly defend that the elimination of the aforementioned closures will guarantee our consumption and environmental preservation in the future. However, this does not imply that citizens should not be attentive to the signing of the decrees since it shows the lack of interest of the Mexican government towards the countryside and the human rights of the indigenous people.

Undoubtedly, water in Mexico is not being privatized, and the propagandistic use of the signing of these decrees in the celebration of a soccer match is yet another example of political radicalization and widespread discontent with the government in turn. In addition, it is worrisome that, less than two weeks before the most important elections of the nation, the opposition allows the leak of false news that stirs up hatred among Mexicans, generates uncertainty and does not allow the healthy enjoyment of the Mexican National Team's triumph. A team that in spite of the political and economic situation is putting on high the name of our country.


Latin American Post | Jorge Vuelvas Lomeli

Translated from "¿Realmente se privatizó el agua en México?