Mexico's National Water Commission (Conagua) announced on August 16 that the first tenders for the Monterrey VI water pipeline project would be launched in September.
Conagua regional manager Óscar Gutiérrez said work on the project, which would bring water from the Pánuco River to Nuevo Leon’s capital, Monterrey, would start before the end of this year.
Conagua and the Environment Ministry have both approved the 365-kilometer-long, $1.1 billion USD pipeline. President Enrique Peña Nieto has also thrown his support behind the project.
However, the municipalities of Pánuco and Tampico, as well as civic organizations and federal deputies in Veracruz, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí states, oppose the project, El Norte reported.
Critics say the Monterrey VI project could cause water shortages, affect agriculture in the area, damage flora and fauna, and aggravate the problem of freshwater salinization.
Meanwhile, Álvaro Fernández Garza, president of Nuevo Leon's Chamber of Transformation Industries (CAINTRA) and president of Mexican conglomerate ALFA, said in a recent interview with Milenio that as far as he was concerned "the state government's current project to carry water from the Pánuco [River] is an extraordinary idea. It is the only way to resolve the issue, even if it is expensive."
"The only thing that worries me is that the [water] pipeline must cross two states; we will have to see if they agree with this,” he added. “I believe that if these states benefit in some way from the project, there will not be problems.”
Fernández’s interview focused on Mexican energy reforms that open up the sector to private investment.
He noted that thanks to a major pipeline from Texas that runs through the state, Nuevo Leon would not face fuel shortages. Water, not oil, is the real problem for the state, he said.
"Right now we do not have them, but there is the possibility we may need large water restrictions," he warned.
This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.